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Largest US egg producer exposed for extreme inhumane treatment of hens

Monday, November 22, 2010 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: eggs, inhumane, health news

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(NaturalNews) 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.

HSUS 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.

Among 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.

Cages 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.

Speaking 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.

The 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.

To see a picture slide show of the conditions at Cal-Maine for yourself, check out the following link: http://www.humanesociety.org/video/slideshow.... 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.

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