are birds. Like all other birds, chickens love to be free. Left
to their own devices, they will stay outside from dawn until
dusk foraging, socializing, dust bathing, splashing in puddles,
and perching on the low limbs of trees. They like to rest in
the sun on winter mornings and nap in the shade on summer afternoons."
—Eastern Shore Sanctuary
are over 10 million female chickens in Florida egg farms, making
Florida the 8th largest egg producing state. On egg factory
farms, hens are housed in rows of bare wire cages called “battery
cages.” As many as 100,000 birds may be crammed into a
single windowless building; some farms in Florida confine over
1 million birds. (photo: chickens at a typical Florida
to six hens are crowded into each cage. They are unable to stretch
their wings or even lie down comfortably. Hens have strong instincts
to build a nest in which to lay her eggs, to dust-bathe and
perch. None of these natural behaviors are possible on egg farms.
In the cages, hens suffer from foot and leg deformities, and
feather loss from constantly rubbing against the wire.
an attempt to reduce pecking and injuries— problems resulting
from overcrowding— part of hens’ beaks are sometimes
severed at the tip using a hot blade, without the use of anesthesia.
“Debeaking” is an extremely painful but standard
poultry industry practice.
chickens can live to be over 10 years old, in egg farms they
rarely see their second birthday. When a hen is no longer producing
a sufficient number of eggs, she will be sent to slaughter.
Many never make it, and die in the cage from heat stress, disease
(photo: A discarded chicken, found outside a Florida egg farm)
problem inherent in egg production is the disposal of unwanted
male chicks at the hatchery. Male chicks have no value to egg
farmers, so they are killed as cheaply as possible; they may
be thrown into trash cans to slowly suffocate, or ground up
intensive confinement of hens in battery cages has been recognized
as inhumane in many countries. Germany, Switzerland, Sweden
and Austria have banned battery cages. The entire European Union
is phasing out cages by 2012.
About “Cage Free” or “Free Range” Eggs?
free” eggs come from hens who are not confined to cages
(instead, the birds are kept inside crowded sheds). They can
spread their wings, walk and engage in some natural behaviors.
“Free range” hens, in addition to not being confined
to cages, are allowed limited access to the outdoors.
debeaking is allowed under these standards. At the end of a
year or two, when their egg production declines, “cage
free” and “free range” hens are hauled to
slaughter along with battery-caged hens.
commercial production of eggs, milk and other animal products
can never be cruelty-free. But animal-welfare campaigns, such
as efforts to end the use of battery cages, have improved the
lives of millions of animals and increased public awareness
buy eggs. Adopting a vegan diet, one free of animal products,
is the most important thing you can do to stop the suffering
of chickens. (photo: hen rescued from a battery cage)
for information on cooking without eggs. For vegan recipes and
products, check out VegCooking.com.
your local government leaders and ask them to consider a resolution
opposing the cruelty of cage egg production and/or other factory
City of Tampa takes a stand against the cruel confinement of
At their March 20, 2008 meeting, the Tampa City Council passed
a resolution opposing "battery cage egg production, based
on the inherent cruelty of confining egg-laying hens in battery
cages." The resolution also encourages consumers, "not
to purchase eggs produced by caged hens."