You probably already know what a battery cage looks like from the outside. But can you imagine what it must be like trapped on the INSIDE?? Find out with this interactive simulation which puts YOU in the cage. Step inside ...
What'd you think? Awful, isn't it? And yet that is what battery hens in factory farms experience for every minute of their entire lives. On average, a battery hen will spend up to two years in a cage like that - with no stimulation, no fresh air, no dirt beneath their feet. After two years, these hens produce less eggs then they used to, so they're gotten rid of - trucked to the slaughterhouse.
It doesn't seem fair, does it? It's not like people even need to eat eggs - check out the alternatives that are all readily available.
Wanna know more about hens trapped in factory farms? Then spend just two minutes watching this.
You can rage against cages with over 60,000 other Aussies who have already taken the Make it Possible pledge. Join them to make the world a kinder place for animals.
P.S. Want to know what the labels on egg cartons really mean for hens (and chicks)? Then grab this handy chart for the fridge at home.
If you wanted to know the full story about where cage eggs come from - where would you go for the info? A website set up by the Australian Egg Corporation Ltd (AECL)? Or would you ask an imaginary green man named Gumby from the 1950s? If you chose the imaginary Gumby, you'd be ... CORRECT!
In case you don't know, Gumby was a plasticine man (thing?) on the telly from the 1950s right through to the 1980s. Him and his mates (including a talking horse and a dinosaur that drives a car) spent each episode getting crazy and generally having a good time. Now believe it or not, but it seems Gumby is more interested in schooling people about the reality of cage eggs than the AECL are! Check out this episode of Gumby where the Blockheads kidnap his friend Tilly (who is a chicken. Yes, Gumby is friends with a chicken - legend.)
Here's what Gumby got right about cage egg production:
Hens will never feel the sun on their feathers.
They're confined to cages their entire lives, with no chance for exercise.
Hens suffer broken bones and lameness after spending their lives in a cramped cage.
If a hen stops laying eggs, she's in serious trouble
The most accurate part comes at the 1.41 minute mark though. When Tilly asks where she is, her caged neighbour replies, "This is hell". Pretty heavy stuff for a kids show!
So how does this match up against what the AECL wants you to know about battery hens? On their website about hen welfare, they've listed all the supposed advantages for chickens confined in battery cages. (Remember, the space each bird gets inside these cages is not much larger than an A4 sheet of paper, and chickens spend their ENTIRE lives in there).
1) "If a bird does become sick, cage-based housing makes it easier to identify and remove birds for treatment." That's a touching thought, but I'm not sure that the sick bird at the end of this video would consider her 'treatment' that helpful. And it's not uncommon for birds to die unnoticed in their cage, leaving their cage mates stuck in a cage with their dead body.
2) "Better protection from in-fighting and cannibalism." The reality is hens have the tips of their beaks sliced off to prevent them from pecking at each other in their cramped cage. Since when was cutting bits and pieces off animals to make them fit cruel systems ok?
3) "Protection from the elements and predators like eagles, snakes, foxes and feral cats." But I want to know who's protecting them from factory farmers! Being doomed to a life sentence in a battery cage is no life. They'll never smell fresh air, or even get to properly stretch their wings.
One fact that neither Gumby or the AECL mention, is what happens to all the male chicks in the egg industry (sadly, not just for cage eggs)...
"Hell" pretty much sums it up :(
The simplest way to make sure you aren't supporting chicken cruelty is to go egg-free (or if not, then at the very least ditch cage eggs). Your body doesn't need eggs any more than it needs plasticine and you can find egg replacers at most big supermarkets. You can do your bit to help hens by pledging to make the battery cage history.
(p.s. Want to know what all the other labels on egg cartons really mean for hens (and chicks)? Then grab this handy chart.)
This is Autumn. She was recently rescued from a factory farm and is only now experiencing life's simple joys for the very first time.
Autumn is quiet, but when she chirps, she sounds like a baby. She never knew her mother, but constantly seeks comfort and protection from those around her.
Until recently, the only life she knew was inside the walls of a factory farm. She never saw the sun. She had no room to move, and lay in faeces covered litter every hour of every day.
Autumn was valued only for how much meat she could produce. Her body was bred to grow many times faster than nature intended. At just 30 days old, she already carries the weight of an adult, and struggles to walk.
Chickens like Autumn are not designed to live past six weeks. Soon Autumn is likely to succumb to lameness or heart failure. But in her last weeks or months, she is discovering what brings joy and meaning to her life. Her eyes close in delight whenever the sun hits her face. She has developed a profound love for watermelon. Yesterday, she learned to dust bathe...
She enjoys time with her feathered companions. In fact, she becomes distressed if she and her best friend Summer lose sight of one other.
Last week the chickens Autumn grew up with were packed into crates and trucked to slaughter. This week they will be on supermarket shelves.
Autumn lives on, and if you share this, so will her story.
She is someone, not something.
Thanks to Tamara Kenneally Photography for providing Autumn's photo and providing sanctuary for her to live out her life in peace. And thanks to you, for caring. Every meal is a choice. Animals like Autumn are depending on us to make compassionate ones.
UPDATE: Sadly, Autumn passed away in late July. Rescued and given a loving home, her last weeks of life were filled with
simple joys that most chickens are never given the chance to discover. Brought into this world only two months ago, trapped in
a body that was designed not to sustain life, but to grow unnaturally
fast. She was just one of millions who grow up in factory farms across
Australia. Farewell Autumn.
A couple of weeks ago, I was chuffed to see the panel on The Gruen Transfer discussing Animals Australia and RSPCA Australia's very own Ban Live Export television ad!
Not only that but they discussed quite a few ads from different groups on really important topics like fur, battery hens, going veg and an ultra clever ad on the destruction caused by unsustainable palm oil. Check out the discussion - it gets pretty heavy!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on all the ads. Which was your fave? What tactics do you think work better than others and why? Do you have any great ideas for tv commercials that raise awareness for animals?
We’re supposed to let you know that the ideas expressed here are the views of the individual authors, and may not necessarily reflect the views of Animals Australia or Animals Australia Unleashed. So now you know.