An undercover investigation prompted by the Humane Society of the United
States (HSUS) has revealed horrific conditions at hen houses owned by the
nation's largest egg producing company. Cal-Maine, a Jackson, Miss.-based
egg producer that owns 26 million birds and sells eight billion eggs a year,
operates a massive factory egg plant in Waelder, Texas, that an HSUS investigator
found to be ridden with filth, disease, and death.
discreetly hired one of its own to work at the Cal-Maine plant for about
a month in order to document what was happening there while incognito. During
that time, the investigator noted "multiple abuses and food safety
threats," many of which are highly shocking.
the various safety and humane violations, the investigator noted feces scattered
all over the facilities, including from overflowing manure pits that were
not being properly maintained. And bird cages stacked on top of one another
routinely allow feces to drop down onto the birds below, where it cakes
up in their feathers and spreads disease.
are also packed very tightly, with each hen able to move within only 67
square inches of space -- which is less than the surface area of a single
sheet of writing paper. Because of such cramped conditions, many hens get
their beaks, feet, and other extremities caught in cage wire, where they
end up becoming severely injured or dying.
of dying, the Cal-Maine facility was visibly littered with dying, recently
dead, and long-since decayed dead birds. Many of these birds were still
in cages with other live birds who were trampling and otherwise touching
them, exposing them to blood, rotting flesh, and disease.
investigation highlights the specific cause behind outbreaks like the recent
Iowa salmonella fiasco -- mainly the overcrowded, filthy living conditions
typical of factory egg farms. Hens living in humane, clean conditions where
they have access to outdoor, open space are far less likely to become infected
with serious disease than their caged counterparts.
see a picture slide show of the conditions at Cal-Maine for yourself, check
out the following link: http://www.humanesociety.org/video/....
You can also watch a video of the horror show here: https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=4749&s_src=waynesblog.
Ethan A. Huff
for this story include: