In Australia, there are almost 11 million battery hens being kept in cages that are so small they can barely move.
Each hen is kept in a space about the size of an A4 piece of paper, and can have up to 20 other hens in the same cage. This results in vicious fights, and to prevent pecking and bullying within the cages, chickens are often debeaked – which is exactly as painful as it sounds.
Because the hens stand up wire floors all day, many develop lesions on their feet; and they also suffer from feather loss and red, raw skin because of the cramped cages they are kept in. Artificial lighting programs are used to make sure the hens lay an unnatural number of eggs. Every. Single. Day.
If you accept that animals can have any sort of emotional response to stimuli – fight, flight, or fear – then battery cages are clearly barbaric. Many of these chickens will have never been outside, in anything even vaguely resembling a natural habitat.
And that’s why it’s so lovely to see this video of ex-battery hens taking their first steps outside. These hens – 752 of them to be precise – were let go by the farmer in charge of their laying, and released to Australian farm sanctuary Edgar’s Mission.
There is some positive news to go with this story. New laws in the ACT have prohibited the use of battery cages for hens, as well as sow stalls and farrowing crates for pigs. The new legislation will also outlaw debeaking. In this one small part of Australia, things are finally changing.
If you’d like to find out how you can help, click here to find out more about Animal Australia’s efforts to end battery cage laying. Click here to find out more about Edgar’s Mission.
Please share this post if you believe chickens deserve better than battery cages.