Letters to the Editor

Consider hens’ plight

Before you pick up your eggs from the grocery store, please consider the hens that produced them.

Approximately 96 per cent of egg-laying hens in Canada are kept in the most appalling conditions imaginable. Five to seven hens are crammed into wire “battery” cages, crowded so tightly together that they can barely move or even flap their wings. They spend their entire productive lives of one to one-and-a-half years eating, sleeping and defecating in the same tiny space.

They are so crowded that almost all their natural behaviours are denied them – dust-bathing, scratching in the earth, spreading their wings, and most importantly, nest-building.

Scientific research has conclusively proven that the stress caused by being denied an opportunity to nest causes significant suffering in caged hens. The tips of their beaks are painfully sliced off to curb cannibalism caused by overcrowding. Other problems too often include painful osteoporosis, respiratory problems from the build-up of urine and feces and feather loss.

It doesn’t have to be this way – consumers have a choice. Purchase certified organic or SPCA-certified eggs which have much higher welfare standards, including no cages or, better yet, choose not to purchase eggs at all.

 

Debra Probert

Executive Director

Vancouver Humane Society

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