This hen was rescued from a factory farm after her body was devastated by forced molting.
Forced molting is the process in which most big industry egg businesses will use to reduce the amount of time the chickens spend molting. It is when all of the chicken’s food and water sources are denied and they are reduced daylight hours until the chickens feathers begin to fall off. This is a very hard process for the birds putting a lot of stress on them and the mortality rate is very high. The benefits of this practice is it takes a few days instead of weeks and when the birds begin to lay again the eggs will be bigger and there will be a higher amount of eggs produced. (This information was found on www.goveg.com)
The following information is about chickens and was taken from the book "The Food Revolution" by John Robbins, author of "Diet for a New America". Copyright 2001, pages 190-198....
In US egg production, seven or eight hens are typically crammed in each 18"x20"cage with barely enough room to simply lie down. Their wing span is about 30", meaning there'd barely be room for a hen to spread her wings if the cage were twice as big, and if she was alone in it. This crowded space obliterates their innate sense of pecking order. To which the industry responds by "debeaking", the cutting off of one-third of each bird's beak so that they won't kill each other in their frustration. This procedure leaves the birds so mutilated that it's hard for them to eat, some starve to death. More than 99 percent of hens who lay eggs are debeaked and kept in cages where the excrement from the birds in the upper tiers collects above them, often falling through onto their heads. Another problem is that the bird's toes and claws often become permanently entangled in the wire on which they are forced to stand. The producers typically handle this by cutting off the birds' toes and claws. When egg production declines, the hens are often subjected to a process called "forced molting", in which they are starved They loose about 1/4 of their weight and their immune system is weakened. This is why they are more vulnerable to Salmonella bacteria, which is then passed to humans through their eggs.
Roosters have very little use in the egg business. Immediately after they hatch they are either thrown into garbage bags to be suffocated, or hurled alive into a giant meat grinder, then fed back to chickens or other livestock. More baby male chicks are disposed of in this way in the US annually, than there are people in the country.
Broilers, the term given to chickens raised for meat are a growing industry...about 8 billion are killed for food in the US each year, a number larger than the entire human population of the planet. Traditionally, it took a broiler 21 weeks to reach 4-pound market weight. But today, that they are systematically bred for obesity, it takes only seven weeks for them to reach the same weight. They grow so rapidly that the heart and lungs are not developed well enought to support the remainder of the body, resulting in congestive heart failure and tremendous death losses. About 90% of chickens are so obese by the age of 6 weeks that they can barely walk.
Free Range and Natural labels don't mean a thing. Unless it says "cage-free" however, it's almost certain that the eggs came from caged birds. By USDA's standards a fast food burger is natural. If a carton of eggs is labeled "vegetarian" or "organic" all it means is that the birds were not fed meat, it has nothing to do with the way the chickens are treated or housed.
The only certain way not to partake of the misery that pervades factory farm eggs and poultry is to avoid commercial chicken and eggs altogether. As more of us move in this direction, fewer birds will be forced to endure such cruelty. No living creature should be forced to endure such tortured conditions. All living creatures deserve basic respect.
The following is a link to a free download for the movie Food, Inc., you don't want to miss this film!!
I would like to end with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
"The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way it's animals are treated."