In October and November of 2017, ARM initiated its first battery cage hen investigation, as a part of its Factory Farm Division. During this time, an ARM operative was employed at the Cal-Maine facility located in Lake Wales, Florida, which is part of a grand scale corporation of Cal-Maine Foods, Inc – a public egg production company that is known to be the largest producer and marketer of shell eggs within the United States.
In its 2017 annual report, Cal-Maine Foods recorded $1,074.5 million dollars in annual sales and sold 1.031 billion dozen shell eggs, representing approximately 20 per cent of domestic shell egg consumption in the United States. As of the end of the fiscal year, Cal-Maine also reported to owning an estimated 36.1 million laying hens and 9.5 million pullets (female chickens under the age of 18 weeks of age), all of who are subjected to daily abuse, confinement and torture.
Whilst undercover, ARM’s investigator confirmed extensive evidence that has previously been bought to light by other animal welfare organizations, regarding the inherent cruelty of egg-laying hens. In 2010, HSUS conducted investigations at the Cal-Maine facility in Waelder, Texas. PETA has also executed its own investigations within the industry. This demonstrates that ARM’s find-ings are not isolated and clearly demonstrate a lack of improvements made to the standards of animal welfare to battery hens over the last seven years. The widespread issue concerning the animal welfare of battery caged hens continues today with ARM’s continuing evidence of the animals living under appalling, inhumane conditions,
Whilst undercover at the Lake Wales (FL) facility, investigators witnessed and documented animal cruelty crimes and atrocities including, but are not limited to the following;
Battery hens producing eggs for human consumption are confined to over crowded cages for their entire lives. On average, nine hens occupy one cage, allocating each hen 67 square inches of living room.
The use of battery cages for egg producing hens are denied the ability to engage in natural types of behavior that are critical to bird’s welfare including nesting, perching, roosting, scratching, foraging, dust bathing and more. This is a major violation of a sentient beings rights to life.
Cages holding the hens are stacked in four level tiers where excrement flows over into each cage.
Due to overcrowding, hens are trampled to death by other hens, suffocate and are strangled after being wedged into the wire cages. This happens on a daily basis.
Major infestations of cockroaches and bugs were documented as ‘moving walls’ amongst the cages where the hens are forced to live in.
The rotting corpses of dead hens are left in the cages, sometimes for days, with other living hens causing distress, disease and infections amongst the remaining occupants.
Hens often die from illness, prolapsed uteruses, dehydration, starvation and egg binding.
Dead chickens referred to as ‘Mummies’, are removed from the cages, placed in a basket and dragged to the end of each line. Investigators documented anywhere from an average of 20 to 86 ‘mummies’ (dead chickens) collected daily from each house of the Cal-Maine facility.
None of the hens were ever documented to be administered any medical attention during the operation period.
Hens that were too sick were put down by the breaking of their necks, whilst considered an approved method of euthanasia, unskilled workers would incorrectly attempt to break the ani-mals necks and almost always lead to suffering and torture.
Hens are suffer broken limbs from being punched, beaten and kicked into the battery cages by employees.
Hens that escaped from their cages, were documented as falling into manure pits and later ‘eu-thanized’ by means of being struck with sticks to death. ARM’s investigator also obtained surveillance documentation of hens also being stabbed by broken sticks. This was executed by both employees and managers of the Cal-Maine facility.
Once the hens lay eggs, they are collected and taken to a separate section of the property where they are packaged and shipped. Here they are distributed to suppliers and grocery retailers such as Walmart, Costco, Sam’s Club and Publix.
ARM’s immediate goal with its Cal-Maine investigation, is to enforce criminal charges upon the workers, managers and superiors of the Lake Wales facility who have inflicted daily abuse to the hens.
Raising awareness to consumers, also lays at the forefront of this investigation. ARM conducted this particular investigation to expose the hidden realities of factory farm industries and the abuse that the animals amongst production lines are subjected to in order to produce supplies for human consumption.
As with dairy products, there are many alternatives of using eggs that are readily available in local supermarkets. Learn more by clicking here.
ARM’s message stands to educate and inspire others to adopt plant-based diets, and to lead more compassionate lifestyles – go vegan.
To learn more about this investigation, please click HERE to read the entire findings of the Cal-Maine poultry farm investigation.