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The deplorable conditions that chickens, used for food and to lay eggs, are kept in are not widely known to consumers. With packaging that boasts welfare standards such as “cage-free” and “free-range,” many are lead to believe that the companies that they purchase chicken products from are truly concerned with the well-being of their animals. This sadly, is largely not the case for chickens who are raised in a factory farm environment. When we consider the fact that 99.9 percent of chickens in the U.S. are raised in factory farms, the stark reality of the cruelty that occurs in the world of meat and egg production comes to light.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently released an exposé that illustrated what happens to egg-laying “battery” hens after they can no longer produce eggs. Battery hens are kept in cages so small that they can never fully-extend their wings for their entire lives, and they are forced to share these small enclosures with five to ten other chickens. This environment is incredibly stressful for hens. HSUS President, Wayne Pacelle calls egg-laying hens, “some of the most abused animals on the planet.”

Looking beyond the cruelty these animals face in their lifetimes and exploring the conditions they endure at slaughter, HSUS’s investigation into Butterfield Foods Company, surely solidifies Pacelle’s statement. Although the company operates under the motto “We Love Old Hens,” their actions against these hens are horrifying. To kill the chickens, Butterfield hangs the hens upside down, while the hens are still alive and fully conscious. They are then dropped into a water trough and electrocuted which is meant to stun the chickens, but is not always effective in doing so. The chickens were then dropped into scolding hot water where they eventually drown.

This process of killing animals is illegal for pigs and cows, however chickens are not protected from this archaic form of slaughter.

Many consumers do not recognize how riddled with cruelty the egg industry truly is, but this investigation illustrates the shocking truth behind how eggs are produced.

To read more about the investigation and to watch the undercover video, click here. We will warn you the video footage is graphic.

Image source: Animal Rights Advocates Inc/Flickr