eggs from caged hens

Biohazard Crew Exposes Cruel Conditions on Egg Farms

Biohazard Crew Exposes Cruel Conditions on Egg Factory Farms

September 22, 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit organization Compassion Over Killing is holding a “biohazard crew” demonstration in front of the Rayburn House Office Building, where the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the Committee on Energy and Commerce will hear the testimony of the owners of the two egg factory farms at the center of this summer’s massive egg recall.

Wearing biohazard suits and holding signs reading “Rotten Eggs from a Rotten Industry” and “Recall the Cruelty,” Compassion Over Killing is exposing the miserable conditions forced upon hundreds of millions of egg-laying hens intensively confined inside wire cages while also drawing attention to the connection that has been shown between caged egg production and an increased risk of Salmonella.

An estimated 95% of eggs produced in the U.S. come from hens crammed inside wire cages on egg farms—including all of the 550 million eggs recalled in August. Each caged bird is typically afforded less living space than the size of a sheet of notebook paper, thwarting her ability to engage in many natural behaviors, such as spreading her wings, perching, and even walking.

Confining birds in small wire cages not only causes them enormous suffering, but numerous studies have shown that it also increases the risk of Salmonella infection in the hens, their eggs, and consumers who eat those eggs.

“The cruel and unsanitary conditions on egg factory farms are making hens and consumers sick,” says Erica Meier, executive director of Compassion Over Killing. “To make matters worse, the egg industry is hiding behind the closed doors of its factory farms and the misleading marketing schemes on its cartons. It’s time for the egg industry to stop scrambling the truth.”

In response to the recent Salmonella outbreak, yesterday, Compassion Over Killing and the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a federal rule-making petition calling upon the Food and Drug Administration to require the full disclosure of production methods on egg cartons, including the clear identification of “eggs from caged hens.” This consumer protection request was originally filed in 2006, but the FDA has yet to take action on this measure. Similar truth-in-labeling requirements have already been established throughout the European Union and in Australia.

For more details, visit COK.net.

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Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a nonprofit animal advocacy organization based in the Washington, D.C. area. Since 1995, COK has worked to end the abuse of animals in agriculture through undercover investigations, public outreach, litigation, and other advocacy programs. On the web at www.cok.net.