Written by Alisa Mullins
The Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments
of 2013, which Congress is currently considering, could keep hens used by the egg
industry confined to cages forever. The legislation is spearheaded by the industry's trade association, the United
Egg Producers, and, if passed, may overturn existing bans on cages for hens and
legitimize and engrain so-called "enriched" or "furnished"
cages at a time when many people and corporations are advocating for a move
away from all cages. We at PETA are pragmatists and support reduced
suffering, but even an egg industry lawyer has said that the humane groups who
support this bill have "caved":
Misleadingly named "furnished"
cages can house as many as 60 birds. The allotted space is still minuscule, the noise is overwhelming,
the stress factors are enormous, the
privacy a hen seeks in nature for her egg-laying activities is not available to her, and veterinary
care is totally lacking. Such cages
are not even remotely humane. At best, they are slightly less cruel. It is time
for true reform, not industry-fueled deception. Please join us in opposing all
cages for hens on egg farms.
What You Can Do
help protect hens by e-mailing
your representatives and urging them to vote against the Egg Products Inspection
Act Amendments of 2013.
You can also help by never
buying any eggs (even so-called "free-range" eggs
usually come from hens confined to
filthy factory-farm conditions). Instead of eggs, try scrambled tofu for breakfast, and use egg replacers such as mashed tofu, cornstarch, and ground flaxseeds in
your baked goods.
Ever wonder what hens would say if they could describe their lives on egg factory farms? Wonder no more:
"For as long as I can remember, I've been locked in this crowded, filthy cage," says the "hen" in the video. "Day after day, month after month, this is my entire life."
Hens crammed into cages on egg farms barely have room to lift a wing, much less take more than a step or two in any direction. But while consumers are increasingly concerned about the way in which they're raised, rather than being rid of cages altogether, hens are in danger of being confined to cages indefinitely. But they don't need slightly larger cages or "enriched" cages—they need no cages.
The only way to ensure that hens escape the hell of being confined to abysmally crowded, filthy cages or huge warehouses is never to buy eggs (even so-called "free-range" eggs).
Instead of eggs, try scrambled tofu for breakfast, and use egg replacers such as mashed tofu, cornstarch, and ground flaxseeds in your baked goods.
Last week, PETA Germany released the findings of its undercover investigation of three "free-range" egg farms. What the group found was pretty much the same kind of horror story that we've had in the U.S. and the U.K.: Far from the idyllic barnyards that people might associate with "humanely raised" or "free-range" eggs, the investigators for PETA Germany found thousands of hens confined to filthy, windowless sheds, just as chickens on "ordinary" factory farms are. The investigators videotaped dead and dying chickens among the living. Many birds were crawling with parasites, were missing most of their feathers, and had large sores all over their bodies, some of which oozed pus. In Germany, eggs labeled "bio " (organic and "humane") are supposed to come from chickens with access to the outdoors, but PETA Germany's investigators showed that the birds' access to the outdoors was often impeded or blocked, sometimes by live electrical wires!
On one farm, the investigators found exposed 15,000-volt electrical wiring that was shooting sparks. The hot wiring effectively confined birds to one section of the barn. In February, a neighboring barn with similar defective wiring burned down, killing 19,000 birds.
In 2010, PETA Germany caught another farm violating Germany's "bio" seal. The farmer now produces "free-range" eggs—the standards for which are less strict than those for the "bio" seal —but PETA Germany's most recent investigation documented apparent violations of those standards as well. The farmer has failed to provide the more than 9,000 chickens confined to his barns with minimum required space.
The 'Free-Range' Scam
"Free-range," "humanely raised," and "certified" labels in the U.S. can also be deceptive. The U.S. Department of Agriculture requires that "free-range" animals have access to outdoor areas, but the birds don't actually have to go outside, and some are too afraid to or are barred by impediments. United Egg Producers uses a label that reads, "United Egg Producers Certified," but this program is not regulated or enforced, and investigations have shown that companies using this label often do not treat chickens any differently than conventional factory farms do.
In fact, most "free-range" hens live in the same miserable, filthy factory farm conditions that "broiler" chickens (raised for their flesh) do. And like other factory-farmed hens, free-range hens are killed when their egg production begins to wane, at about 2 years of age.
Want to help hens? Stop eating eggs altogether. It's not hard. Just opt for egg replacers in baked goods and whip up some tasty, heart-healthy scrambled tofu for breakfast. For more hen-friendly cooking ideas, visit PETA.org/Living.
Written by Michelle Kretzer
most of us are grilling veggie dogs in the park or sipping drinks by the pool
today, working animals won't have it so easy:
carriages today will tromp on
hard pavement all day long in the intense heat. They will breathe exhaust fumes
and will not have adequate food or water. Tonight, they will be crammed into a
tiny stall for a few hours until they are dragged out in the morning to start
Hens used by the egg industry are spending the day crammed
five deep into wire "battery cages" about the size of a file drawer.
Because they are packed so closely together, they will have to urinate and
defecate on each other.
Indian donkeys will struggle to pull
heavy carts that are overloaded with bricks and sugarcane. They will toil under
the blazing sun with little rest, food, or water. They may be beaten or whipped
to force them to keep going.
who are enslaved at marine parks today will perform
meaningless tricks in front of crowds of screaming people in order to get food.
They will swim endless circles in a tank that is, for them, comparable to a
bathtub. The reverberations from their sonar will bounce off the walls, adding
to their frustration and anger.
dogs in puppy mills will likely spend Labor
Day in either a crude, filthy cage or chained to a tree. They will suffer from
painful medical conditions, such as ear infections, mange, and abscessed feet,
for which they will receive no veterinary care. They will either be pregnant
with or nursing yet another litter of puppies, who will be taken away from them
Pregnant cows on dairy farms will be hooked up to
milking machines several times today. They may be suffering from a painful
udder inflammation called "mastitis," likely brought on by the drugs
that increase their milk production. They may also be lame from being intensely
confined and being forced to stand amid their own waste.
This Labor Day, resolve to help the animals who
rarely have a day off. To learn
what the PETA-supported working animal relief organization Animal Rahat is
doing to help animals in India, visit AnimalRahat.com.
you ever gotten that "caged animal" feeling? Now everyone who uses the
elevator at PETA's Norfolk, Virginia office, and PETA's office in Los Angeles, the Bob Barker Building, will have it,
thanks to our new elevator experience that gives visitors the feeling of being chickens inside a battery cage
on an egg factory farm.
by photos of cage bars and suffering chickens, the rider can read the writing
on the wall: "Imagine being trapped in this elevator for life with no room
to turn around. That's how a caged hen feels. Please, for chickens' sake, join
us by going vegan."
hope is that as the elevator begins to move, visitors will be moved to think
about the fact that each hen on an egg farm is shoved into a cage with five to
11 other hens and not enough room even to spread her wings. Part of her beak,
filled with nerve endings, will be cut off with a searing-hot blade. When her
egg production wanes, she'll be violently killed.
after their elevator ride, visitors who still eat eggs will choose to take the
steps … the steps leading to a more compassionate lifestyle.
a friend to hens and tweet this photo or post it to Facebook.
Birds of a
feather flocked to PETA's L.A. office this weekend for what was quite possibly
the world's cluckiest adoption fair. Seventy-eight hens made themselves a
comfortable roost in the Bob
Barker Building while adopters listened to the hens' story and snacked on vegan egg-salad
The hens had
been used by egg producer A&L Poultry until the company went out of business last February and simply left 50,000 hens
to die in battery cages without any food or water. Two weeks after A&L shut
its doors, Animal Place sanctuary and other animal advocates got wind of how
A&L ran afoul of the fowl and rushed in to rescue the hens. Many had
already died or were too ill to save, but rescuers were able to save nearly 4,500
hens and nurse them to health.
At the adoption
event that PETA hosted, the blissful birds got a Hollywood ending when they
were whisked away by SoCal families who will let the birds be birds and finally live the life that they deserve.
Written by PETA
Thousands of "laying" hens died an almost unimaginably horrific death when the barn that they were trapped in burned two days before Halloween. It was the first of three fires involving farmed animals in Ontario in just over a week. Three days later, 10 calves perished in a fire at a dairy farm near London, Ontario. Then, 70 cows and calves died when a fire swept through a barn at a dairy farm near Ottawa on Friday. That's not even counting the suspicious fire at a hog farm in Manitoba that we told you about last week.
A concerned citizen visited the chicken farm and captured this footage of the hens, dead in their cages:
The farmer's reaction to the carnage? He noted that neither the chickens nor the barn had any particular sentimental value and stated, rather unnecessarily, that "there won't be any income from the hens, that's for sure." Perhaps these hens' deaths won't have been entirely in vain if this tragic story convinces even one person with a heart slightly larger than a chicken farmer's to swear off eggs.
Ever since half a billion eggs were recalled because of a salmonella outbreak, people have been talking about food safety regulations. Animal welfare issues have been mentioned, but they need to be considered more seriously. The following are some facts to help you tell the hens' side of the story:
There's cruelty in every carton of eggs:Ninety-nine percent of hens used by the egg industry are confined to filthy, crowded battery cages. In June, the owner of one of the egg farms involved in the recall—and of the company that supplies chickens and chicken feed to both farms implicated in the outbreak—pleaded guilty to cruelty to animals and paid more than $130,000 in fines and restitution following an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals.
Salmonella spreads like wildfire on factory farms:Under squalid factory farm conditions, it's easy for salmonella bacteria—which live in the intestines and feces of animals—to spread from bird to bird and from birds to people. Vegan foods don't naturally harbor salmonella bacteria.
Avoiding eggs is the best way to prevent salmonella poisoning and reduce animal suffering:A salmonella vaccine that has been used successfully in Britain is available, but American regulators don't believe there's enough evidence to show that vaccinating hens will prevent people from getting sick. It's obvious that our food safety regulations are not all they're cracked up to be and that the safest and kindest way to prevent salmonella poisoning is to stop eating eggs altogether. PETA is urging Iowa schools to stop serving eggs to children in order to help protect them from food poisoning. You can opt for egg replacer, scrambled tofu, and other tasty vegan foods.
Written by Heather Moore
It's so hot in the city, you'd think I'd be making another batch of lemonade—but I've got a hankering for some Internet Soup. It's been a while since the last batch, so dig in!
Oof! I don't know about you, but I'm full after all that soup—and guac. This Special K needs a siesta. Until next time …
Written by Karin Bennett
In a recent fire on an Ohio egg farm, 250,000 hens died after they were left in two sheds that had the electricity knocked out in order to battle the fire. Once the fire was squelched, all the birds were "euthanized" (we don't know how they were killed) because, according to a spokeswoman for Ohio Fresh Eggs, it was the "humane thing to do."
First, take a minute to soak in the fact that there were more than 250,000 hens crammed into two sheds. Chickens on egg farms are packed into battery cages so tightly that they don't even have enough room to lie down, and the cages are stacked from floor to ceiling. They have their beaks seared off without being given any painkillers, and for up to two years they endure relentless cycles of egg-laying. When they become too weak to produce eggs they are trucked to slaughterhouses, where their legs are slammed into metal shackles and they have their throats cut while they are still conscious and able to feel pain.
Animals who are crammed by the thousands into warehouse-like buildings are often out of luck when disaster strikes, because it's not cost-effective for farm operators (and they certainly don't care enough) to take the time to implement evacuation plans. The loss of life caused by fires, floods, and other disasters is all too common on factory farms.
Of course, any animal who has suffered through a tragedy like this should be given a humane release from pain, but the representative also declined to comment on the method that was used to kill these poor chickens. If it's anything like the way many egg farms "euthanize" their male chicks—by leaving them to suffocate in plastic bags or by sending them through giant meat grinders while they are still alive—then I would say that "humane" isn't part of the equation.
Want to make sure that tragedies like these don't continue to occur? Go vegan.
Written by Heather Drennan
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.