LAST UPDATED: 1 March 2016
Egg laying hens are among millions of animals raised for ‘food’ in Australia who are deliberately excluded from protection against cruel treatment. This leaves them vulnerable to terrible suffering — including being severely confined in small cages for their entire lives, or having parts of their beaks cut off without any pain relief. Investigations have shown that even the woefully minimal industry standards that are in place have little value due to a lack of oversight by industry and government. A hen may spend her entire life — and death — without ever being seen, let alone assessed by an independent auditor.
Hens can naturally live up to 10 years, but in this commercially-driven industry their lives cease to have value the day they can't turn a profit. So from as young as 18 months, when their egg production slows, hens in all commercial egg systems are packed into crates and trucked to slaughter.
Over the last half a century, most egg production has transformed from small family farming into an industrialised system, run by large corporations. Animals are seen as production units, to be crammed into smaller and smaller spaces, so fewer staff can oversee more animals. For hens this means lives of misery, for rural communities this means fewer jobs and profits funnelled into large corporations rather than farming communities.
Male chicks can't produce eggs, so they have no value to the egg industry. On their first day of life at hatcheries, they are dropped into grinders or gassed to death. Sadly, this happens across the whole egg industry.
At every meal, you have the chance to make life-changing choices for hens. By refusing to buy cage eggs you can help free hens from cages. You can even join the growing number of people discovering delicious egg-free alternatives, and know that you'll be saving the lives of hens and chicks at every meal.