Newly released footage reveals hens crammed into tiny cages, living above piles of excrement and broken eggs, and painfully wounded by cage wire. The footage was taken at egg farms across Thailand, a leading egg producer in Southeast Asia, with around 60 million egg-laying hens.
The video is a collaboration from internationally renowned animal photographer Andrew Skowron, his team from Anima International, and animal protection group Sinergia Animal. They visited egg farms in late 2019 and recently released heartbreaking footage and pictures of what they found.
In the video, hens live in cramped battery cages—sometimes with up to 12 birds in one cage. Conditions are so tight that the hens cannot walk or spread their wings, let alone engage in many other natural behaviors, such as nesting, foraging, and perching.
Many of the images show chickens with large bald spots where their feathers had been rubbed off over time or snagged by cage wire. The hens struggle to stand on the wire flooring and suffer painful foot sores with no relief.
The birds have no access to natural light in these dismal sheds, and with so many animals crowded together, noise is incessant. Additionally, investigators found piles of feces, eggshells, and feathers beneath the cages, meaning that chickens had to endure the smell of filth all day, every day. In some of the farms, live chickens were forced to share a cage with dead ones. Skowron said:
I have seen egg farms in many different countries, and they always shock me for being so cruel. Sadly, Thai farms are not different. What is happening is beyond any measure of humanity.
Egg farms around the world treat hens as nothing more than machines.
In July of this year, Mercy For Animals released its first undercover footage of egg farms in Mexico, taken at seven facilities in Nuevo León, Yucatán, and Jalisco. The footage shows chickens crowded in tiny wire cages and maggots squirming in the waste beneath them. Over 60 media outlets covered the investigation.