A visual for you... happy, healthy, playful chicks in a sunny outdoor playground with roosting branches and space for running and flapping wings. This is the home that we have created for our chicks that are now 3 1/2 weeks old.
Is this the image in your head when you buy a carton of eggs at your local grocery store? Think again. The photos and description of what occurs in factory poultry farms will open your eyes to the atrocities... the extremely shocking, wicked, cruel, brutal, frightful, inhumane treatment of chickens. We must educate ourselves... we must not turn away and pretend this is not happening. The Humane Society steps in to rescue abused dogs and cats. Where is this animal protection organization when hens beaks are partially cut off to prevent them from pecking one another... an act that stems from living in crowded quarters. With partial beaks, the chickens are unable to eat, drink, and preen properly. For several years, we have ordered 17 week old hens from an Iowa hatchery. Last year, the hens arrived debeaked with 1/3 to 1/2 of the top beak cut off. We were horrified. One might think that it is akin to trimming our fingernails. Not so. The chicks experience severe pain. This practice should be prohibited by law... along with many other horrific acts occuring in the poultry industry! This year, we are raising our laying hens from baby chicks so that they may experience a loving environment from birth through adulthood. What can you do if raising your own flock is not feasible? Buy eggs at a farmers market, food co-op, or directly from a local farm. Visit with the farmer so that you aren't relying on confusing, deceiving carton labeling that sounds wholesome (cage free, free range, free roaming) but may not be what you think. Even the term "organic" is being abused. Check out the Mother Earth News Scrambled Eggs YouTube video that explains that "there is a corporate agribusiness factory farm takeover of the organic egg industry well underway. The large corporate egg operations control 80% of the market. They are playing lip service to the organic standards." (Source: Scrambled Eggs YouTube Video) Become an educated consumer. Visit a local poultry farm. Dick and I joined a group of about twenty others on a field trip to the farm that supplies our food co-op's eggs. The hens are rotated to new fenced pastureland weekly via a portable coop. "The gold standard in organic production is the pastured poultry producers" where chickens can roam willy nilly in the grass to forage for bugs, seeds, worms, etc. (Source: Scrambled Eggs YouTube Video) We are in need of a sweeping movement across this country to support small-scale farmers' efforts. It begins with each of us.