Expert Opinion

Statement by Laurie Siperstein-Cook, DVM

To whom it may concern:

I am a 1989 graduate of the University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and currently have a private practice specializing in birds. I perform house-calls on backyard and companion poultry as well as on companion parrot species.

The video sent to me is of a commercial egg laying operation using White Leghorn hens. The hens are so crowded in the cages that they can barely move. They are also filthy, most likely from their own feces and the feces of the hens in the cages above them falling through the cages. An infectious diseases that exists in that hen house would obviously spread very quickly though the ubiquitous fecal matter . When given the opportunity, hens clean themselves regularly by dust-bathing and by preening their feathers. These hens obviously cannot dust-bathe and with their trimmed beaks and lack of space would have difficulty properly preening themselves. These conditions would, at the very least, be very stressful on these birds.

Several of the hens are shown with swellings around the eyes and on the head. Some swellings are very large and pendulous. These swellings appear to be from infections of the sinus cavities and elsewhere. The yellowish color under the skin looks like the solid pus that birds produce when fighting infections. In most if not all cases, these conditions would be very painful, as they would be for humans. One hen is shown with a very swollen toe. This could also be from and infection, but I could not see enough to determine that. These conditions would not likely resolve themselves, thereby causing long-term pain and suffering as long as they go untreated.

The hens trapped in parts of the cages where they cannot reach food or water would be suffering from a slow and agonizing death from starvation or, more likely, from dehydration. In addition, there is the pain inflicted on the body part, such as the wing, that is trapped. It could become twisted, broken or lose circulation, all of which are painful conditions.

As to the live chicken in the trash can, this is an extremely inhumane way to 'dispose of' a living creature. The hen would eventually die from dehydration or starvation, a slow and agonizing death.

Let me know if I can be of any more assistance.


Laurie Siperstein-Cook, DVM


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