Free-range hens are typically debeakedas chicks at the hatchery the same asbattery-caged hens. Debeaking is apainul acial mutilation that impairs ahen’s ability to eat normally and preenher eathers. Typically, 2,000 to 20,000or more hens – each hen having onesquare oot o living space the size o asheet o paper – are conned in a shed with little or no access to the outdoors.I the hens can go outside, the exit isoten very small, allowing only theclosest hens to get out. And the “range”may be nothing more than a mudyardsaturated with manure.
“Free-Range” Hens Kept for Eggs
Severed beaks in the bottomo a debeaking machine.Chick about to be debeaked at the hatchery.Debeaked chicks with bloody beaks.
“Organic” and “Certified Humane” Eggs
“Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs” in New Hampshire exemplies the misleadingmuddle o “organic,” “humane,” “ree-range,” and “cage-ree” advertising.Despite the “Certied Humane” logo, visitors were shocked to nd 100,000debeaked hens crowded into ve 400 t long sheds, each holding “a sea o 20,000 brown hens,” so densely crowded the foor was invisible. Though it wasa mild September day in a lush green valley, the visitors said they “couldn’t seeany hens enjoying the grass, just several large sheds that took up most o thearm.” The “range,” even i the hens had been outside, was just “a bare patch o dirt between the sheds.”