Rescues and Investigations
Aren't you committing breaking and entering by investigating these facilities?
To date, we have had no need to circumvent any security measures. According to USDA surveys (Layers '99), only 27% of these facilities are secured by so much as a fence. In fact, over 20% allow visitors access without even signing in.
We feel that the legal risks of performing our investigations are outweighed by the need to bring an end to the abuse and neglect of hens kept in these conditions. Please refer to our nonviolence policy for more information.
Hen flocks are susceptible to contagious diseases. What biosecurity precautions do you take?
Our biosecurity procedures are outlined here. Our research suggests that our precautions are more stringent than those followed by over 97% of farms in their everyday operations.
How do you determine how many hens to rescue? What impact do you hope to make on the millions of hens that remain?
Before we can consider rescuing any hens, we must first arrange for a future home where they will be cared for. If you know of someone who is willing to provide a safe and loving home for hens, please write to firstname.lastname@example.org. We must also have enough rescue volunteers to safely and humanely transport these hens.
While we certainly can't rescue all of the hens who need our help, we feel obligated to rescue those we can help. We hope this will set an example of compassion for other activists, consumers, and egg producers.
What happens to hens after you've rescued them?
After hens are rescued, our first priority is veterinary attention. The hens we save are generally in appalling condition, often with painful infections and broken limbs. For a couple weeks, they are homed temporarily in quarantine to allow them to regain the strength and health they'll need to be homed with other hens.
How many hens are used for egg production in the US?
According to a 2000 USDA report, there are an estimated 263 million hens raised for egg production in the US. That's approximately one hen for every person! Over 98% of these hens are raised in intensive battery cage conditions. According to Michael Foods' 1999 annual report, over 40 million of these hens are raised by or for them!
How long do hens in battery cages live? What happens to them?
Hens kept in battery cages are kept in production for up to two years. During this time, 15% of all hens die, most after forced molting. After two years, hens' egg production has dropped and their bones have become brittle due to lack of calcium. Over 80% of these 'spent' hens are sold for food processing, with most of the remainder being composted or rendered.
For comparison, a chicken's natural lifespan is around seven years.
What about free range and organic eggs?
There is currently no legal or commercial definition for "free range" as applied to eggs, so unfortunately there is no reason to think that conditions for "freerange" birds are better than typical battery farm conditions. Similarly, the word "organic" implies nothing about the care and living condition of hens.
For more information, see this United Poultry Concerns factsheet.
If I give up eggs, doesn't that mean giving up bread, pasta, baked goods, etc.?
No. Most breads and most dried pastas don't contain eggs. And there are numerous substitutes you can use in cooking and baking.
If you have further questions, write to email@example.com.