DawnWatch: Cleveland Plain Dealer front page series on egg farms
rumsiki at netvision.net.il
Tue Jun 3 23:40:42 EDT 2003
Cleveland's largest newspaper, the Plain Dealer has done a beautiful
exposing the cruelty and environmental hazards of modern egg farms. The
extensive stories, by Fran Henry, received front page placement on
June 1 and Monday, June 2.
Sunday's story, "The squawk over Ohio's eggs" compared the way chickens
treated on old fashioned farms, to what they suffer on modern factory
The story was jam-packed with information, and was printed with huge
I will share one of my favorite sections:
"Listen to the faint scratching sounds. Look how the egg rocks ever so
slightly as the small creature within it struggles to break free.
Peck-peck-peck. A fragile bit of shell falls, and then another.
Peck-peck-peck. Then the baby rests awhile, gathering up the energy to
again, and again.
"Finally, the pale beak triumphs, and the chick is free. It hops to its
and begins its instinctive search for food. But a hand swoops down and
it up, and an employee called a 'sexer' makes a decision that scripts
small creature's life.
"For a male chick, it is a short story. He can't lay eggs, and he can't
develop enough meat to be raised profitably for food. So he is dropped
grinder alive and processed into cattle feed. 'They don't know what
them,' said Robert Kreider, vice president of Hy-Line, the nation's
supplier of chicks. 'It's the ugliest side of our business.'
"A female chick, however, has a busy future. When she is about 10 days
her beak is trimmed with a heated blade to prepare her for life in a
cage. Without the trim, most farmers say, she will peck at other hens,
possibly causing them harm.
"After about 17 weeks, the bird begins to lay eggs, nearly one a day.
lives in a windowless shed, where light, water, feed, heat and
are computer controlled. On some farms, her manure will be allowed to
up beneath the bank of cages, causing strong ammonia vapors to fill the
"When she is about 65 weeks old, she is starved an average of 10 days
induce molting, which means she loses her feathers. The process
reinvigorates her, farmers say, allowing the hen to lay eggs another 40
"At about age 2, she is so physically depleted that her bones often
when she is removed from her cage for disposal.
"About 30 percent of hens arrive at the slaughterhouse with freshly
bones, says a 1999 study for Compassion in World Farming.
"At the end, she is gassed to death and buried, or slaughtered and
Henry goes on to discuss the work of Nathan Runkle, with Mercy for
(http://www.MercyForAnimals.org ) who breaks into modern egg farms and
You can read the whole article on line at:
The Sunday paper also included a wonderful section headed "How hens
You'll find it at:
The Monday, June 2 article, on the environmental impact of modern egg
"State rules still short of ideal, some say."
Henry refers to the once peaceful flatlands of Wyandot County where "16
green barns filled with 3 million hens fractured the serenity."
"The complex is one of four owned by Buckeye Egg Farm, an 11-million
company whose lawsuit-plagued history of fly infestations, waste runoff
noxious odors has embarrassed the egg industry and cast doubt on its
to produce eggs without harming the environment and annoying the
Since April 2002, Buckeye's permits to operate have been under review
We learn about new rules governing factory farm operations in Ohio but
that, "The new rules also do not address the problem of nuisance odor
We also learn that, "When the new state rules were implemented in
responsibility for their enforcement was transferred from the Ohio EPA
the Ohio Department of Agriculture."
Local activist Robert Bear comments, "It's like the fox guarding the
You can read the whole story on line at:
Here is a perfect opportunity for activists, particularly those in Ohio
those involved with organizations that work to help farmed animals, to
appreciative letters to the editor referring to the cruelty involved in
consumption of animal products or singing the praises of a plant-based
The Plain Dealer takes letters at: letters at plaind.com
Link: mailto:letters at plaind.com
A big thank you to Marina Coreto for making sure I/we saw this series.
Yours and the animals',
(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal
the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media
You can learn more about it at www.DawnWatch.com. To subscribe to
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