Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Undercover Investigation Reveals Abuse of Chickens

Mercy for Animals has released undercover footage of animal cruelty at one of California's major egg factory farms.

The August-to-September investigation of Land O'Lakes-owned Norco Ranch in Menifee, Calif., revealed the following:

l Birds confined in tiny wire cages so small they couldn't walk, perch, fully stretch their wings, or engage in other basic behaviors
l Ill birds neglected to die on top of dead piles - denied veterinary care or proper attention
l Workers killing birds by grabbing their necks and swinging them around in circles - an attempt to break their necks which often resulted in prolonged deaths for the animals
l Hens suffering from bloody open wounds and untreated infections
l Dead hens left to decompose in cages with birds still laying eggs for humane consumption
l Birds trapped in the wire of their cages or under the feeding trays without access to food or water
"I never saw a veterinarian on the property nor was there any kind of a protocol ever explained to me for what humane euthanasia would be," the investigator told a reporter with the local ABC station.

The investigator tells the I-Team when he pointed out injured birds, the workers did not call a vet and they did not do a very good job -- or a humane job -- of killing the hens. They would keep flopping for minutes. He also found chickens suffering what is called a prolapse.

"And a prolapse is where a chicken has laid enough eggs or a particularly large egg so that her uterus turns inside out and then she's bleeding from the wound and eventually all of her insides spill out from her cavity," explains the investigator.
A spokeswoman assured the Los Angeles Times -- as they always do -- that the facility has a great record.

"The [Norco] ranch maintains thorough veterinary records and was recently inspected by the county of Riverside during the same time period in which the video was apparently shot," said Julie Buckner, spokeswoman for the No on Prop. 2 campaign. "The inspection report notes that the ranch's proper handling of hens was appropriate, conforms to industry-accepted standards and found the ranch to be in 'excellent' standing."
If you live in California, please vote Yes to Prop 2. This initiative would phase out battery cages for hens, pig gestation crates and veal crates.

Prop 2 is more like a Band-Aid, though. To have a greater impact on ending animal cruelty, please go vegan. These chickens, after all, lived lives of misery not for their flesh but for their eggs.

Edited to add: Julie Buckner is the spokeswoman for Californians for SAFE Food.

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