The documentary discusses so called front groups, which are generally employed by the food industry to discredit the charities trying to make a change. The aim is to reduce the trust in the message from pressure groups, without looking like the criticism is coming directly from the industry in question.
The egg industry is probably the worst when in comes to factory farming – which is not something that I expected. Chickens naturally like to establish a pecking order, like dogs in a pack. The problem comes when so many birds are kept in such extreme close proximity.
Until recently, up to 11 birds were kept in each small cage – where they would never once be able to stretch their wings fully in their entire sad lifespan of 2 years. The bottom of the cage is a series of wires – so their feet are frequently damaged from not having an adequate place to rest.
Because of the need to establish a pecking order in a cramped uncomfortable cage, the chickens attack one another, pecking incessantly and causing pain and even death. The factory farmers do have a solution for this: De-beaking. That is a process by which the chickens’ beaks are seared off with a red hot blade.
The general consensus in the world of biology is that almost anything with a nervous system can feel pain. And animals almost certainly feel emotions. Consider a dog, we can see that it experiences joy. We also recognise that chimpanzees amongst other creatures grieve the death of a companion.
Even worse, they may even feel their emotions even more strongly than humans, because they can’t rationalise what they are going through. So it could be that we are grossly underestimating how much they are suffering.
Mark attempted to visit an egg farm to debunk these facts – that seem too terrible to be true, but every request to visit was completely rejected.
Chickens that are bred to be eaten also have a terrible time in factory farms. They spend their life living in large windowless sheds, with barely enough room to turn around. The stench of ammonia is overpowering in these sheds, with thousands of chickens all gathered in one small, closed space.
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