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Still Eating ‘Organic’?

The following article was written by Rachel and originally appeared on the peta2 blog.

It’s easy to think that “organic” and “free-range” mean that animals live a good life. Once upon a time, I believed it—and I’m sure some of you do too. Sadly, it’s just untrue. These terms, along with “cage-free” and others, are meant to trick compassionate consumers into buying into an industry that exploits animals. Don’t believe me? Check out these gut-wrenching photos from the Organic Valley Farm in Wisconsin: They show birds in stinking, stifling, windowless warehouses, crammed so tightly together that they’re barely able to move—much less spread their wings, scratch in the dirt, or interact normally in any way.

Like many other facilities that raise young birds, this house in Southwest Wisconsin confines its animals, granting no outdoor access whatsoever, and provides virtually no natural light in the building.
Photo by The Cornucopia Institute.

Around 36,000 birds in an aviary system in Wisconsin, supplying Chino Valley Ranchers. The hens also have access to
an outdoor run.
Photo by The Cornucopia Institute.

“Organic” doesn’t mean that birds are allowed to be free. Cage-free does not mean free range, of course, and so the chickens can still be crammed into sheds and forced to suffer through having a part of their beaks cut off, just like birds on factory farms. But “organic” does mean that the chickens aren’t fed antibiotics—leaving them all the more susceptible to illness in the filthy, poorly ventilated, crowded conditions.

The outside view of a 60,000-bird “organic” henhouse in Pennsylvania. The other side of the building has a small grassy porch as “outdoor access.”
Photo by The Cornucopia Institute.

A two-story henhouse with tens of thousands of organic hens inside. The small, enclosed porch on the first floor provides “outdoor access” for the chickens on the second floor as well—it is accessible via a ramp that leads chickens down, single-file.Photo by The Cornucopia Institute.

Love animals? Don’t support this or any other industry that abuses them for profit. Go vegan!

Commenting is closed.

    We should love animals just like our friends . GOD Loves those who love His creatures.We should be came vegetarian ,its nasesery for our servaivel.

  • Erick says:

    Why does “The Cornucopia Institute” give “Organic Valley”,the farm this article is about, a rating of 3eggs(very good)then??

  • Lindsay says:

    I am so happy that my mom’s organic farming friends treat their animals well on their organic farm. The cows looks comfortable and have a lot of roaming room! But, this still will not make me want to drink their breast milk! GO VEGAN!

  • Christiana says:

    This is exactly why you should buy meat and eggs directly from a farmer you know and trust. It’s always best to see the conditions first hand.

  • Elley says:

    I never new this its appalling what they do! These company’s are completely misleading! Well done to Peta for making this discovery!

  • Zephyr says:

    Only if everyone were rich enough to be able to buy all vegan food, vitamin supplements, and minerals.

  • linda says:

    it`s horrible that humans think they own the world and treats the animals in ways that would result in death penalty if it was another human. we have no respect for life!

  • Emilia Klonaris says:

    If we hurt or abuse our pet or any animal we would be prosecuted by law Why then do these people get away with such cruelty?

  • Sabrina says:

    I feel so defeated by this. But we must go on and keep fighting for the animals!

  • Rachel says:

    This makes me so sick! I am going vegan. I love animals too much to let them suffer for my benefit.

  • morgan says:

    A neighbor just moved here, started free range business. 50′ tarp covered hen houses on trailer frames, get towed around the pasture once a week so hens have fresh pasture to live in. Admirable. Says biggest cost is organic feed.

  • teri says:

    Thank you PETA for this information. I will from now on be even more careful and inquisitive as to how chickens are raised and what eggs I buy. Further, I’m a long time customer of Trader Joe’s and I’ve sent them an inquiry about the Eggs they sell in their stores.

  • José Maerten says:

    In Belgium they eat almost only animalprodcts like there’s nothing els 2 eat. Thinking we are saints now buying organics, animals get a good life so we can eat them. Vegan is unknown, making jokes of vegeterians is a sport. Meat-business people knowns there’s a new fastgrowing nonmeatmarket. So they’ve started a lot of new vege-organic-factorys & new organic shops. They have lots of money to do this. Thanks to the big profits of slaughtering animalproducts. The hypocrites gets more millions now. We all as humans together can change that, but sadly most of us are not that smart! (sorry 4 my bad English)

  • tatragirl says:

    Anyone knows about “Vital Farms”? They sell their eggs through Whole Foods, and make a claim that their hens are pasture fed and treated humane. They say they do not even debeak their birds. I tried to do some research and did not find anything negative on them, but I am getting really frustrated with deceiving ads, and at the same time not ready to go vegan yet. So, if you have any knowledge of this company- please share with me.

  • Dee says:

    If you want truly free roaming hens, you either own them yourself, or know a know a local farmer that you can visit and get eggs from them.

  • Terry says:

    Actually, the second picture shows a window…

  • Charlotte Vallaeys says:

    At The Cornucopia Institute we respect everyone’s dietary choices. We rate how animals are treated on organic farms (dairy and eggs) separating the true heroes from the bad actors.

    For the vegan community we have rated all organic soy food products, separating which brands come from Chinese soybeans and which from American family farmers. We have also “outed” a number of companies that market their products as “natural” but used the toxic solvent hexane to process soybeans.

    And, we have won praise from vegans for taking the USDA to court in an effort to overturn their mandate to “pasteurized” all “raw” almonds with either a toxic fumigant (propylene oxide) or heat …. and outrageously still label them as raw. Some of our members who financially support this work have told us that almonds make up a large percentage of their daily protein intake. This is an important issue to them!

    This posting on organic eggs is only one side of the story. There are hundreds of farmers who treat their birds with respect. And I’m not trying to persuade people on this site to start eating eggs. But for your friends and families who still do eat eggs you should direct them to our website so they can purchase nutritionally-superior eggs from hens that are outdoors, on pasture, and able to exhibit their natural instinctive behavior.

    The headline to this posting might dissuade some from choosing to eat organic food, including eggs. The conventional livestock production model is a horrific way to treat animals. We will not, again, try to convince anyone to change their dietary choices whether they are based on health concerns or ethics. And we will not enter into a debate on the pros and cons of including meat, dairy and eggs in someone’s diet or practicing a vegan lifestyle.

    But I hope that there is no debate that for the health of the nation, the environment and the humane treatment of animals, that we all have to fight like hell against factory farming, whether it exists in phony organics or conventional agriculture.

    Sincerely yours,

    Mark A. Kastel

    Senior Farm Policy Analyst

    The Cornucopia Institute

  • Cernunnas says:

    I’m a vegetarian, almost vegan, but I do eat eggs seldom… the few eggs I buy from a neighbor that has chickens loose around the house and feeds them on food she cooks (I know it sounds crazy, but she really loves her hens). They lay an egg every few days and got their “rest period”. And why? Because once I bought some eggs that were supposed to be organic, and the numeration printed on them showed they were not. So they scam you anyway…

  • Célin says:

    That’s a shame because so many people ( including me until I saw that) believe that animals are not harmed when it says organic! We really can’t trust these labels!!

  • Ecoe says:

    Is there a way for PETA to expose these farms? besides your FB page, website and magazine which only inform PETA members, how are others made aware of this? What about letting supermarket chains know.

  • lindylouwho says:

    I feel that the only time you purchase eggs is from a neighbor who you KNOW has happy, happy chickens roaming free in their yard. I will only buy eggs from chickens I personally know and have met. Otherwise, forget it.

  • lindylouwho says:

    I feel that the only time you purchase eggs is from a neighbor who you KNOW has happy, happy chickens roaming free in their yard. I will only buy eggs from chickens I personally know and have met. Otherwise, forget it.

  • nancy says:

    For so many years I ate free-range, organic eggs thinking it was a humane choice. Then I learned all the things mentioned in this article. Most farms keep these chickens in the dark their entire lives even when their free-range. That is on top of killing the male chicks. What a SCAM!!

  • erin margolin says:

    Deplorable conditions. People just don’t get it. I am vegetarian and trying to work towards vegan as well…thanks for this post, I shared it on my Facebook wall and on Twitter. People need to SEE what is really going on.

  • catlover1998 says:

    those people should go to jail ! or live in those conditions

  • Brian Greene says:

    The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.

    – Leonardo da Vinci, painter, engineer, musician, and scientist (1452-1519)

  • Leonard Negri says:

    Okay I’ve now had it with PETA. I am all for the humane treatment of animals. I, however do not believe that human beings are meant to be vegans. We are omnivores and meat protein is good for our health – in moderation. I refuse to eat any meat other than ‘free range chicken’ (which you, PETA, just changed my mind about because apparently there is no such thing – so thanks for saving me the money), cage free eggs (again thank you PETA for saving me the money and time because apparently I am being dooped), and wild fish. I will still eat the wild fish, however because they do provide the essential fatty acids that our good for us humans vs. farm raised fish. Don’t get me wrong, I still would never ever patronize a zoo, Seaworld, circus, horse track, polo or any other venue that thinks it’s okay to use animals for our entertainment, but when it comes to my nutrition, I am done with looking for cage free, organic, etc. I would like to know if the animal I am eating has been abused prior to it being slaughtered. If I can make a choice, I’d raise my own, but that is unfeasable at the moment.

  • sanjuro says:

    I hope this is a US-specific problem. Over here, in Finland, I think there are strict regulations on what can be labeled free-range and organic, the name of the farmer is sometimes written on the box and I know some people who went to visit the farms.

    You have a serious problem in US with food quality. Yoir FDA seems pretty much powerless. It should be a top priority but it looks like corporations are free to lie and poison everyone when profit is to be made. Money > People, that’s the prevalent Republican ideology, isn’t it?

  • Rosie says:

    Why are there so many dark secrets in the world? Making me so mad!

  • Michelle Howell says:

    More awful, inconvenient truths…
    Ignorance is bliss until they take your bliss away.

    Saving lives, one meal @ a time.
    Veg since 1998

  • Terezie says:

    It´s awful, but I believe this is an exception, at least in Czech Republic; there are only a couple of organic farms which are under strict control. I wouldn´t say “go vegan”, but rather “get as much information about products you buy as you can.” Or you can buy products (eggs is this case) from someone you know, from someone who treats his/her animals fairly.
    Articles like this only undermine the real value of organic farming as it attacks not only one concrete farm where bad treatment happens, but organic farming as such. It´s good to inform others about such things, but be careful what consequences it may have.

  • Macdoodle says:

    Too many people on the planet create a need to be inhumane to supply us.
    Organic veggies also take up 4x the space of gmo/chemical laden. More de-forestation and loss of species-
    OR population control?

  • Maegan says:

    So where ARE there happy free-roaming hens?

  • Anthony Sullivan says:

    They should treat all animals as they wish to be treated themselves… conditions in these places are inhumane…

  • Kim says:

    I’m infuriated by this!

  • Lindsay says:

    I wanted to die when I learned this awful truth. For years I was a vegetarian, taking care to eat only free-range and organic eggs–from Monks (surely the religious were kind, right?) Imagine my horror when the monks were on the news for animal abuse–and then, I realized that “free range” just means the chickens are trapped in one giant god-awful “barn” thats packed to the gills, instead of being stuffed in wire cages… basically its 1 HUGE cage… and then I found out by supporting eggs–you’re supporting the brutal death of male chicks. I’ve been vegan for 4 yrs as a result.

  • A//V says:

    Free range organic carcus and bodily secretions is a scam. Do not believe the hype. A dead carcus on my plate does not look so free nor humane.
    Animal Liberation!Human Liberation! go vegan

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