The suffering of livestock animals seems to be endless and exists in every branch: in the meat, fishing and egg industries and even in the clothing industry, in cosmetics and in the pharmaceutical industry.
Each of us has heard about the deplorable practices in laying batteries and when we go shopping we can see that something has changed for the better in this respect. In the meantime we can buy eggs of four different categories: cage eggs, eggs from the floor and free-range systems and eggs from organic keeping. These attributes depend on the room that is given to a hen. In conventional caging this is slightly bigger than the paper size letter.
But floor keeping is not really better. In those farms often more than 200,000 animals are kept – nine per square metre. Only one third of the floor is covered with litter, the rest consists of wooden or plastic grids, which often cause painful injuries to the hens.
In free-range keeping, the conditions can be compared to those of floor-keeping. But In addition, each hen is allotted a space of 4 square metres to move freely during the day.
Many consider the organic keeping of hens to be acceptable and appropriate. However, the picture from PETA which is shown here http://mediathek.peta.de/ does not show any signs of appropriate animal keeping. It is from an organic farm. You would have attributed this photo to caging, wouldn't you? It is all the more surprising that it is associated with organic keeping, the form that is considered the best.
By the way, the ancestors of modern hens laid around 40 eggs per year. Today due to specific breeding, hens lay eight times as many, i.e. around 300. As with cows, the permanent stress causes serious illnesses with hens, too. Losses of up to 18% are not an exception. When after 12-15 months, the laying capacity of hens diminishes, they, too, are slaughtered. Their ill-treated body cannot be used as an appetizing chicken, consequently it can only be used as a boiling chicken or for bouillon cubes.
The worst conditions within the egg industry can be found in the breeding of laying hens. On average, one chick in two is male. But as male chicks do not lay eggs and as they are not suited for meat production because they were bred to become high-capacity laying hens, they have to be disposed of. Thus every year more than 100 million chicks are shredded on conveyor belts in the USA alone, or they are gassed or thrown into a trash bag alive, where they suffocate painfully and crush each other to death. And such cute chicks are used for advertising at Easter by big concerns.