Yesterday, Mercy For Animals released its first undercover footage of egg farms in Mexico, taken at seven facilities in Nuevo León, Yucatán, and Jalisco. The video exposes extreme animal suffering and significant public health threats at the farms, highlighting many problems in our broken food system.
The shocking video shows dead hens left to rot in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption and birds trapped in sharp cage wire, trampled by their cagemates and left to slowly die. Many hens suffered untreated prolapsed oviducts, with internal organs falling out.
To make matters worse, chickens at these facilities were forced to live in dirty, disease-ridden environments, with maggot-infested manure and live and dead rats. At one factory farm, about 900 birds died in a single day from an illness that, according to workers, was some kind of flu.
Linda Obregón, managing director of Mercy For Animals Latin America, explains the serious public health risks that come from treating animals so poorly:
Nearly all egg-laying hens are raised at factory farms like the ones Mercy For Animals investigated. These unsanitary, overcrowded conditions severely affect hens’ immune systems, creating the perfect breeding ground for pathogens that could infect humans and pose serious threats to public health.
Industrial animal agriculture poses persistent risks of epidemics. Extremely high population densities, prolonged stress, poor sanitation, and unnatural diets create ideal conditions for viruses to mutate and spread, developing the ability to transcend the species barrier and infect humans.
Indeed, in recent months several strains of highly pathogenic avian influenza have swept through poultry flocks in Europe, North America, and Asia. While many strains of avian influenza do not pose serious risks for people, some have proved deadly. H5N1, for instance, has a human mortality rate of about 60 percent.
Factory farming is not only cruel and unsustainable; it presents an existential threat to us all. Building a plant-based food system is the best way to safeguard future generations and protect the planet we all share.
To learn more, visit InsideEggFarms.com.