Conscientious and kind consumers have been duped into thinking that they’re doing the right thing when they buy eggs labeled “cage-free.” A PETA eyewitness was given a tour of a cage-free shed at Hilliker’s Ranch Fresh Eggs, outside San Diego. Owner Frank Hilliker referred to his operation as “Chicken Disneyland,” but this facility is the opposite of magical.
(Video footage at this facility was recorded without audio per state law.)
Birds Are Still Crammed Together
- The shed was so crowded that the hens couldn’t spread their wings. The eyewitness could barely see the floor through the flock.
- While Hilliker claims to provide hens with “toys,” the observer saw just four nets hanging from the rafters, which a hen could only access after wading through hundreds of other frantic birds, many of whom were likely socially dominant.
- The hens’ calls were so loud that the eyewitness found it difficult to hear the tour guide. Constant exposure to noise and severe crowding can lead to distress, excessive adrenal hormone production, and suppression of the immune system.
- The shed smelled of waste, and hens couldn’t escape from the odor.
- Even though chickens love to take dust baths, the observer saw no opportunity for these to do so.
- A veterinarian who reviewed the footage wrote, “It is my professional opinion that these hens experienced stress as a result of being unable to freely engage in natural behaviors, owing to the high stocking density and conditions in this shed.”
Cage-Free Is Still Hell for Hens
Voters just passed Proposition 12 in the state, which will require that all eggs come from cage-free sources—like this company—by 2022.
Proposition 12 misleads kind consumers into thinking that consuming eggs is humane, even though the measure means that tens of thousands of hens will be crammed into giant warehouses with only 1 square foot of space per bird.
What You Can Do to Help
There’s no such thing as humane egg production. Whenever animals are used for profit, they suffer. The best way to prevent chickens from suffering is to stop eating their eggs and their flesh. Order your free vegan starter kit today.