Demand Better Treatment for Confined “Free-Range” Hens

featherless-chicken by Karen Jackson

Target: Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs

Goal: Improve factory farm-like conditions rampant in free-range farms.

So-called “free-range” chickens are being cruelly confined in filthy sheds, alleges an animal rights investigator who infiltrated a Norfolk, U.K. farm. Videos reportedly taken at the facility show tens of thousands of hens covered in sores and parasites and climbing over each other in cramped conditions. Some hens are shown stuck in wooden floors, and one is shown dead. Despite the fact that these conditions are no better than the average factory farm, an investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals determined that these conditions were in line with U.K. free-range regulations.

In order to be considered free-range, farms must provide 10,000 square meters of grazing space per 2,500 hens. While the farm meets these standards, the “pop holes” through which the chickens can access the outdoors are small and often blocked by large crowds of agitated birds. These birds are considered free-range despite the fact that many of them will never walk on the grass or breathe fresh air. Despite this, their eggs are being falsely promoted as a cruelty-free alternative and are being sold at a significantly higher price.

Unfortunately, these scenes will continue to be commonplace in the free-range egg industry until legislation is implemented to stop it. Free-range farms should be required to provide ample access to outdoor areas as well as cleaner, roomier indoor conditions. Sign the petition below to demand that higher standards of animal welfare are laid out for free range egg farms.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Liz Truss,

Chickens in free-range farms are living in filthy, cramped conditions hardly better than factory farms. While they are provided outdoor space, they are not capable of accessing the space due to restricted exit points. Many of the thousands of chickens kept in the massive sheds suffer from parasites and skin conditions, and will never breathe fresh air.

Free-range eggs are sold at a much higher price and are marketed as a less cruel alternative. This type of marketing is misleading to consumers. In order to stop these widespread abuses, legislation must be changed to allow the animals better access to the outdoors and cleaner, larger interior spaces. We, the undersigned, demand that animal welfare standards are improved in free-range chicken farms.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Karen Jackson

Sign the Petition

  • Only your name will be displayed. By signing, you accept our terms and may receive updates on this and related causes.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
FacebookCare2 NewsTwitterEmailShare

10 Comments

  1. Yes, better conditions but why have ‘factory-like free-range’ -surely an oxymoron!!

    Let’s not also forget that for every hen born, at least 2 male chicks will be thrown into giant mincers ALIVE because they are of no use to the egg industry and therefore no use to the meat industry either.

  2. OMW – the “human” factor strikes again. And sadly so much of it has to do with money.

    What a disgrace, this “human” race!!!!

  3. janet redfern says:

    Once again farmers conning the public along with the RSPCA and DEFRA. People buy free range eggs for ethical reasons this is disgusting. Liz Truss do your job the public expect free range to mean just that healthy hens living in the fresh air. Boycott eggs until they can prove that free range means free range

  4. Chickens are gentle, affectionate, smart and social creatures. They make wonderful pets, if treated well. How can anyone treat them with such cruelty?!

    Is the world getting more demented and monstrous by the minute?!

  5. Margaret Melnick says:

    I guess I just don’t understand the language of today. To me free range hens are like my dad used to raise. They were outside all day and only closed in a hen house at night to keep them safe from predators. Being pushed into little houses is no better than crates. Lets get the terminology straight. What they describe as free range is not free anything in my books. It is a cruel inhumane practice.

  6. Lisa Zarafonetis Lisa Zarafonetis says:

    Signed & Shared.

  7. Everyone: Unless you are only purchasing HFAC Humane Certified “Pasture Raised” eggs, you are still contributing to the problem of barbaric living when it comes to laying hens. There is very little difference between how caged and free-range hens exist in big factory farming. Even if a company eliminates battery cages, we still need to continue to push for better conditions for the hens. Please take time to do your research on the internet, especially concerning HFAC Humane Certified “Pasture Raised” eggs and “pop holes”. It will truly open your eyes.

    Furthermore, every year millions upon millions of unwanted male chicks are killed at birth (ground up alive or suffocated in plastic bags) because they cannot produce eggs.

    12 Egg Facts the Industry Doesn’t Want You to Know:
    http://freefromharm.org/eggfacts/

    If you can handle it, this shows what happens to male chicks as they are being ground up alive:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQ5qAfyUuWE

    Also, there is the matter of what happens to hens once they no longer lay eggs. So, you see, there really aren’t any humane eggs unless you raise them yourself or find a farmer that you can trust. The good news is there are healthy, delicious alternatives. Some can be found here, and if you google the alternatives, you will find many, many more:
    http://freefromharm.org/food-products/delicious-vegan-eggs-recipes/

    Thank you for caring!

  8. Horrendous — as I’ve said on many occasions the RSPCA is an absolute disgrace, they should be ensuring that the birds are treated humanely, and in line with what any sensible intelligent person would define as ‘free-range’ not blindly following the Governments very poorly drafted requirements. The RSPCA should be leading the fight for much better conditions and better monitoring rather than conniving with, and hiding behind, poor legislation and the all powerful farming lobby.

  9. IF ONLY PEOPLE COULD SEE WHAT REALLY GOES ON, I HAVE BEEN HAVING CHICKENS THAT WERE ON THE WAY TO SLAUGHTER FOR A FEW YEARS NOW, AND IT IS HEARTBREAKING WHEN YOU FIRST GET THEM, THE LOOK AWFUL AND CAN HARDLY WALK, AND IT IS SUCH A PLEASURE TO WATCH THEM BECOME CHICKENS WITH FEATHERS, SOME WILL NEVER HAVE FEATHERS AGAIN AS THEY HAVE JUST BEEN PECKED OUT AT THE ROOTS, WHAT A SICKING WAY FOR ANY ANIMAL TO LIVE.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Comments

comments

5264 Signatures

  • Georgia Benyk
  • Audrey Connor
  • JULIA MARTINEZ
  • Donna Griffin
  • Katherine Beckley
  • Linda Wheeldon
  • Jane Ahrens
  • Margaret McGullam
  • Janet Bradley
  • Kimberly Heath
1 of 526123...526
Skip to toolbar