There are 12 million hens in Australia living in battery farms – industrialised egg facilities that confine them to small wire cages (the size of an A4 piece of paper) with up to five other hens. Standing on wire causes their claws to grow abnormally, often with deformities, and they regularly grow around the cages and become caught. In order to feed, hens must stretch their necks through the wire, usually rubbing off feathers and creating open wounds, which lead to injury, infection and even death. Hens whose claws have become fixed on the wire will be unable to feed and face starvation.
Dead birds can remain in cages for days until factory workers remove them. The monotony of life in a battery causes hens to peck and mutilate one another out of frustration and their inability to establish a pecking order. In response to this, their beaks are cut off (debeaking) without the use of pain relief or anaesthesia, which causes pain and suffering.
After just 18 months of life, as egg production reduces and they are no longer profitable, they are slaughtered. The industry has coined the term “spent hens” to describe them. Their only taste of sunshine will be experienced on their journey to the slaughterhouse – weak, often featherless and sick.
Image credit: Aussie Eggs
Back at the battery farm, these birds will be replaced, and the appalling cycle continues. There is no requirement for routine, independent auditing or oversight of factory farms in Australia.
'Barn laid' and 'free range' eggs
These feel-good terms make consumers feel satisfied they are making the right decision when purchasing eggs. However, barn laid facilities can house tens of thousands of birds in windowless sheds. And “free range” operations still subject hens to cruel debeaking procedures. Both farming types send hens to slaughter at 18 months of age.
Much like the dairy industry, male chicks are not useful when it comes to egg production. Soon after they are hatched, they will be ground up alive or gassed via carbon dioxide poisoning.
What are we doing?
• Investigating and documenting reports of animal cruelty in Queensland.
• Working with a number of other animal rights groups to conduct ground-breaking investigations to expose the true cost of egg production to the public
• Developing educational materials like our “What’s wrong with eggs” brochure
What can you do?
Don’t buy eggs. ALL commercial egg production methods involve cruelty and ALL kill the animals. There are many egg alternatives and egg-free recipes available.
For delicious egg-free recipes and information about veganism, visit www.veganeasy.org
The following web site contains documented evidence of recent undercover investigations carried out in Australia and clearly show standard factory farming processes in Australia.
Warning: The following page contains graphic photos and videos: