Independent experts in bird welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA's undercover investigation of Norco Ranch. Below are some of their statements:
Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D.
Dr. Buyuckmihci is an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. He has over 34 years of experience, much of it involving farmed animals including chickens. Dr. Buyuckmihci states:
"Hens were crowded in wire cages so that the birds could not lie down or walk, spread their wings or rest without causing major disturbance to the rest of the birds in the cage. This demonstrated that cage size was insufficient for normal postural adjustments."
"Many of the hens had what appeared to be serious injuries or other abnormalities to their vent areas. In some cases, this appeared to be due to tearing of the tissue or possibly cloacal rupture or prolapse. Some of the chickens may have been egg-bound. All these are painful conditions that would cause pain and suffering."
"There were several scenes in which a worker apparently attempted to kill chickens by twirling the body while holding onto the head. This is not a veterinary approved method of killing birds. Nor is such treatment likely to kill quickly in all cases and would cause considerable pain and suffering in the interim even if the bird eventually succumbed."
"There is no question that the manner in which the chickens depicted in the video were treated was cruel by any normal definition of the word and resulted in suffering for the birds. The treatment of the hens violated norms of conduct with respect to animal welfare and veterinary care.”
Click here for Buyukmihci's entire statement.
Sara Shields, Ph.D.
Dr. Shields is an animal welfare scientist and teaches animal sciences. Dr. Shields earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, in the Animal Behavior program. There she worked with both broiler chickens and laying hens. She also worked in the Emergency Disease Program at the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Dr. Shields states:
"It is clear that a few of the birds left in the piles of dead hens are still alive; some show slight body movements and shallow breathing, while others appear to be completely alert. Without access to feed, water, and veterinary attention, these birds are likely to suffer immensely while they slowly die."
"In addition to the hens with prolapsed oviducts, many of the hens in the video show signs of other medical conditions that would require immediate attention, veterinary diagnosis, and individualized care. Others have experienced poor beak trimming treatments, leaving them with permanent beak abnormalities."
"In addition to the injuries, ailments, and obvious suffering depicted, there is also a vast body of scientific knowledge providing ample evidence that battery cages, such as those in the video, are simply inappropriate environments for laying hens in the first place. Battery cages restrict natural hen behavior to such a degree that their ethological needs are frustrated, which may lead to distress and further suffering."
"Such conditions are deplorable and reform is desperately needed throughout the egg industry."
Click here for Dr. Shield's entire statement.
Christi Camblor, DVM
Dr. Camblor received her Bachelors of Science in Animal Biology and her doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Camblor states:
"Without question, leaving a live animal to die of its own recourses while surrounded in a mound of dead carcasses is an inhumane, unacceptable practice. The fact that these birds also clearly are suffering from physical injury adds to the cruelty demonstrated by this practice."
"Birds are shown with prolapsed cloacas, facial and ocular abscesses, broken limbs, and ulcerated, bloody genitivally. All of these conditions are painful, chronic health conditions that left untreated lead to prolonged suffering and ill health."
"Allowing these birds to endure these atrocious physical ailments without the benefit of medical attention or immediate euthanasia seriously infringes upon their welfare and constitutes abhorrent animal cruelty in my opinion."
"In closing, the overall conditions demonstrated within the video footage made available show clear animal cruelty, undeniable inhumane treatment of the birds and egregious animal suffering."
Click here for Dr. Camblor's entire statement.
Kate Hurley, DVM, MPVM
Dr. Hurley received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree Master’s degree in Preventive Veterinary Medicine from University of California, Davis. Dr. Hurley states:
"The images shown in the Mercy For Animals video of Norco ranch powerfully underscore the urgent need for Proposition 2, an initiative on the November ballot that would prevent the worst abuses associated with factory farming."
"The practices and conditions depicted in the Norco video do not reasonably fall anywhere within the bounds of acceptable herd health care."
"Battery cage systems can not provide humane conditions under the best of circumstances: suffering is inevitable when hens are so restricted that they can not take even a few steps or stretch their wings without running into wire cage walls or another bird. The Norco video starkly demonstrates that the suffering, injuries, disease and death associated with battery cage systems extend far beyond restriction of movement and prevention of normal behaviors."
Click here for Dr. Hurley's entire statement.