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Largest Egg Farm in the World Exposed for Animal Abuse

Alyssa Rave, Staff writer

A Cal-Maine egg farm in Polk County, Florida is being criticized for the conditions in which it treats its hens after telling videos of the farm were released by an undercover investigator. The undercover worker from the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) worked at the farm for around three weeks, in which they recorded cages infested with roaches, cramped quarters, and chickens crammed against other dead birds. Upon the release of the video, some corporations that bought from the company called for a boycott, although Cal-Maine has remained the largest egg producing company in the world for years.

Cal-Maine Foods Inc. founded its first egg farm in 1958 and continued to expand the egg farm properties until it became the top egg producer in the U.S. and later, the world. The company made over 53 million dollars from eggs in January and February of 2017 alone and now owns around 1.8 million egg-laying hens.

ARM founder Richard Couto decided to investigate what the Florida location’s secret conditions were like after the organization became aware of suspicions that the factory farm was like most others, using cruelty to get its productivity rates up. Although there aren’t many laws to protect factory hens, the organization hopes to spread awareness and inspire others to call for action against the industry. Couto stated that the Florida hens were undergoing “very long deaths of starvation” and that the “horrific conditions” recorded were “some of the dirtiest [and] filthiest” ones he had ever seen in a Florida factory farm.

The investigation revealed just how intense the abuse was at the farm, with workers stomping chickens to death, throwing hens against walls, killing chickens that escaped their battery cages with their own hands and sticks, and drowning chickens in feces. Coupled with the recordings of the hens’ small, crowded battery cages, the farm was met with an uproar until the workers caught on video were fired. Since the release of the tape, Publix and Walmart have voiced their disapproval and will now conduct welfare checks on the hens at the specific farm to ensure their safety.

There are over 2 million factory farms in the U.S, and over 90% of the animals are chickens, with most of the female part of the statistic used for laying eggs until they are killed. With 2017’s annual average of 275 eggs consumed per person in the U.S., the demands of the industry are used an excuse for farms to mistreat their hens. Even though the history of intensive animal farming is fairly recent, some reasons for minimal regulations are that sales help raise the gross national product and the population of the U.S. continues to grow.

Photo courtesy of INDIANAPUBLICMEDIA.ORG

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Largest Egg Farm in the World Exposed for Animal Abuse