Tuesday, July 19, 2011


"Happy days" are here again for millions of egg laying hens in the US if the battery cage system for housing them is abolished as per a new law being proposed in consultation with and consent from the industry. Animal welfare organizations are mighty pleased with such a development which they consider would go a long way in alleviating the pain and sufferings of these birds who provide valuable and healthy food to humans. It is beyond one's imagination to visualize the trauma these birds undergo after being literally stuffed into small cages with just enough space for breathing! Here is a take on this welcome development which should serve to remind poultry industry world over to emulate the US with similar land mark legislation.

"Even worse, roughly 50 million hens are crammed into these cages with only 48 square inches per bird--they are literally living their lives on top of one another. And tens of millions are starved for two weeks to shock their bodies into another laying cycle. Their suffering is beyond our worst imaginings. Until now, the UEP supported abuses of farmed animals in the United States that turned their lives into a blazing inferno of pain and despair -- battery cages, which cram between 5 and 10 hens into cages so small that their lives are void of any natural activities beyond breathing and defecating. In these torture chambers, hens are unable to spread even one wing".

Consumers of egg need not bother while in the retail market to scout for "equitable" eggs that are produced by hens under humane conditions of rearing. Of course one cannot expect that the modern poultry industry would go back to the old traditional practices of rearing the birds without cages as such efforts cannot produce sufficient eggs to meet the ever increasing demand for eggs by the consumer community. Also enough space is left in the market for specialty eggs like organic, free range, vegetarian, ovo-vegetarian and Omega-3 eggs for consumers willing to pay a premium price. One can only hope that there would not be any rethinking on the part of the government to make such transitions voluntary and leave the option to the industry to label eggs that are produced under "modified" cage conditions under humane environment.


No comments: