Animal Equality investigators visited two farms in Northern Germany on March 2015. Both of the farms investigated held up to 30,000 egg-laying hens.
One of the farms supplies eggs to “Deutsche Frühstücksei GmbH”, Germany’s largest egg producer’s and also one of Europe’s biggest egg producers. “Deutsche Frühstücksei GmbH” supplies all of Germany’s leading retail chains and supermarkets.
OVOBEST Eiprodukte GmbH & Co. KG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of “Deutsche Frühstücksei GmbH”, is one of the leading producers and distributors of eggs in both the German and international market.
The footage taken by Animal Equality shows:
- Over ten thousand animals living in a barn amongst dirt, dust and faeces.
- Dead animals laying between others who are still alive
- The majority of the hens have only a few feathers left due to stress-induced feather-plucking
- Lack of hygiene leading to daily inflammation and other injuries.
Hens and chickens are sensitive animals who suffer greatly due to the egg industry. Mother hens are deeply affectionate and caring. Baby chicks start communicating with their mothers while they are still inside the egg.
In farms like the these, chickens and hens watch members of their own specie die in front of them. Mother hens never get a chance to raise their young and watch them grow.
Animal Equality encourages consumers to put an end to this cruelty by going egg free.
Chickens are highly intelligent and social animals that live in small family units in the wild. By nature, they are very sensitive creatures, who are able to feel compassion and often become devoted and caring mothers.
Chicken mothers defend their newborns fearlessly against enemies in order to ensure their babies are safe and protected. Moreover, contrary to general assumptions, chickens are extremely intelligent beings. They have highly-developed cognitive and communication skills along with a strong social presence that was previously thought to be exclusively found in certain species such as humans or primates.
A study published in 2011 confirms that mature hens have the ability to feel compassion which means that they are affected by and share the emotional state of their companions. According to this study, it is an important finding considering the cruel conditions modern factory farming subjects animals to. Animals are routinely forced to witness, not only their own pain and suffering, but also that of their flock mates.
The prevailing opinion is that hens in organic farms lead lives without any pain and suffering.
But can chickens really be happy in organic farms? We answered this question by investigating two organic free-range farms. One of the two farms supplies the Deutsche Frühstücksei GmbH which is not only Germany’s largest egg producing company, but also one of the biggest in Europe.
The company provides to all the leading German retail chains, discounters and wholesaler.
On their website, the Deutsche Frühstücksei GmbH advertises “modern, animal-friendly egg laying hens”. Strict hygienic conditions and regular veterinary inspections are supposed to guarantee the hens’ wellbeing.
What Animal Equality investigators came across on an organic farm which supplies to the company, paints a completely different picture.