More Room? Hens are Hoping Soon!

 

We all love our chicken. Fried chicken from KFC, chicken fingers for our little ones, grilled chicken sandwich for a healthy lunch , and chicken alfredo at a 5 star restaurant. Yes, everywhere we look there is some form of chicken product in every refrigerator. It’s no wonder, because chicken is the world’s primary source of animal protein, a healthy alternative to red meat, and unlike many vegetables it is available all year long. But, stop and think. If we can purchase them all year long, where are they all coming from? With thousands of people being infected from Salmonella outbreaks every year from unsanitary living conditions of hens, it is time for a change.

Money Camouflaged as Hens? 

In large factory farms thousands of hens are crammed together with little to no space to move around. They squawk loud agonizing cries because of surrounding filth and tormenting diseases. It is obvious that they are solely grown as profit instead of the animals that they are. What has happened to the world today? Do we not take pride in farming of animals, or do we take too much? Industrial Agriculture could be a great way to feed a starving world but at the same time animals should be treated with respect. Farming has advanced so much within the last 100 years but it is important we do not forget our past. What happened to chickens growing up on real farms and although 280 million hens are raised in factory farms today isn’t there a way to make them safer and more environmental?    

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An Answer! 

Finally, a prayer has been answered. Farmers and animal welfare advocates are working together and coming up with a law that will give these hens larger cages and better living conditions.  The United Egg Producers and the Humane Society of the United States have asked Congress to pass a law that will enact the new standards including, but not limited to, larger cages and more natural environments. Most importantly this law will be a new break through. It will be the first law addressing the treatment of farm animals.    

Happy Hens are Healthy Hens!

Hens in many factory farms are caged in small spaces of 67 square inches but if a new law is in passed hens will be given up to 144 square inches of living space each! Could you imagine living in such close containment with a friend or family member that you cannot move your arms and legs? This is how these hens live from day to day. Ok you may ask, but what is the importance of this? More space will prevent disease, such as salmonella outbreaks, which are caused from massive amounts of manure in one area that many hens must endure. Salmonella is transferred from one infected hen to the next and although eggs are infected they look normal. Every thing and everyone needs space. Without space hens become stressed and can attain many diseeases that are then passed down to us! Safety should always come first. Just because hens are not humans they still feel pain.

In addition, habitat enrichments will be added to living space to give the hens a more natural environment. Perches, scratching areas, and nesting areas will allow the hens to express their natural behaviors. As of right now hens have nothing but the wood carvings beneath their feet and flapping shicken wings in their face. Maybe they are our food supply but shouldn’t they live a semi-normal life? Happy hens are healthy hens and healthy hens are better for us.

Although it may take 18 years to bring change at least this law is a beginning. There may be controversy because of effects on poultry companies. But, small steps turn into long strides. It is obvious that if we care about our body then we have to care about how hens are being treated in Factory farms. We may think that we will not be the one who will get an outbreak from Salmonella, but with thousands of people every year getting it, chances are you and I could be next on the list. The more people who stand up and protest for the humane standards of chickens the higher chance chickens will get to live in a more natural environment. Remember, happy hens are healthy hens and healthy hens are better for us.    

-Mecee Snider

   

Work Consulted

Neuman, William. “Egg Producers and Humane Society Urging Federal Standard on Hen Cages”. The New York Times,  7 July 2011. Web. 6 November 2011. <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/business/egg-producers-and-humane-society-urging-federal-standard-on-hen-cages.html?_r=1&ref=factoryfarming>.

Campbell, Elizabeth. “Humane Society, Egg Group Propose Cage, Hen Treatment Laws.” Bloomberg, 7 July 2011. Web. 6 November 2011.<http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-07/humane-society-egg-group-propose-cage-hen-treatment-laws-1-.html>.

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