The cruelty of egg production lies in the treatment of the “laying” hens themselves, who are perhaps the most abused of all factory-farmed animals. Up to five hens are packed into each cage the size of a filing cabinet drawer. The cages are stacked many tiers high; feces from the cages above fall onto the chickens below. Hens become lame and develop osteoporosis from forced immobility and calcium lost to produce egg shells. Some birds’ feet grow around the wire cage floors; they starve to death because they are unable to reach the food trough. At just 2 years of age, most hens are “spent” and sent to the slaughterhouse. Egg-laying hatcheries have no use for male chicks so they suffocate, decapitate, crush, or grind them up alive.
Each egg from today’s egg factory farms represents 22 hours of hell for a hen.