An undercover investigation has revealed ‘distressing scenes of animal suffering’ at a U.K egg farm.
Leading international animal protection organization Animal Equality secretly filmed at Kinswood Eggs in West Sussex in order to undercover conditions.
The farm holds around 320,000 hens who produce around 72 million eggs annually.
Egg farm investigation
According to Animal Equality, its investigators visited Kinswood Eggs Ltd three times between June and September 2020. They recorded nine gigantic hen sheds on-site, some in cages stacked four tiers high.
Investigators also reported hens ‘forced to live in extremely overcrowded cages, with as many as 100 birds in a single cage’. They also found hens confined in less space than an A4 piece of paper.
Likewise, they reported days-old chicks packed into empty, wire-floor cages. In addition, they saw hens suffering from severe feather loss – consequently, some were nearly bald, others showing signs of hernias and red, raw skin.
‘Decaying hen carcasses were left in cages with living birds’, they said, with mice and mouse litter ‘present throughout the sheds’. In addition, they recorded ‘rotting bird corpses disposed of in bins, attracting maggots and flies’.
Professor Andrew Knight is a veterinary professor of animal welfare and ethics. He reviewed the footage and subsequently expressed concern about the confined space.
Prof. Knight said due to this, some of the birds would be unable to perform natural behaviors like wing-stretching.
He then added: “Also visible were a chick trapped within the wire of a cage and several dead chickens within cages… predisposing to disease and likely increasing the rodent infestation common within such farms.”
‘Locked away for life on egg farm’
Abigail Penny, is the executive director of Animal Equality U.K. She added: “Just days after birth, these fragile chicks are packed into wire cages and locked away for life.
“Companies like to paint a picture of happy hens lovingly laying eggs for us to eat, yet they fail to add that around 40 percent of UK hens are kept in cages.”
She said it is time to ban cages being that they are ‘incredibly cruel’.
She then added: “The conditions that we filmed in this ‘quality assured’ British egg farm are, quite frankly, revolting. If you saw rodent poison and decomposing carcasses in a local restaurant there’s no way you would ever eat there again.”
Kinswood Eggs has reportedly not yet responded to requests for comment.
Animal Equality is calling on the Government to ban cages for British hens. You can find out more here