Remembering Sheena

Stop Animal Abuse in Malaysia.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Battery Hens

Humane Society of the United States, filed criminal animal cruelty charges on January 9 this year against the owner and manager of Esbenshade Farms, Pennsylvania. It is one of the states largest egg farms. An investigator from an animal rights group, posing as an employee allegedly videotaped hens impaled by the cage wires and living in cages with the decomposing corpses of other hens, unable to reach food or water; and some left on the floor to die slowly.

Sadly this is the reality from where most of us get our eggs. Gone are the days when my grandmother used to send me to the coop to gather the eggs. I would gently shift them from one hand to another, marvelling at their warmth and smoothness while the hens roamed around in the back garden happily clucking and stretching out their wings. My maternal grandmother would cry if she saw the state of the world today.

In another case in Canada in October 2005, photos and video, taken on a farm in the Guelph area belonging to LEL Farms (and owned by a veterinarian with connections to the University of Guelph!) show birds covered in excrement, birds crammed into cages so small they can barely move, birds suffering from extreme feather loss, and escaped birds left to languish on a pile of manure three feet deep.

We at Remembering Sheena Campaign believe education will stop the abuse but when we hear of people like veterinarians indulging in abuse, I wonder...Does the vet simply switch his mind off to the knowledge that God created hens with the natural need for nesting, dust bathing, perching, and foraging? Maybe the dollar sign image in his head is so blown up it leaves little room for any other thought.

It is interesting to note that the industries indulging in harvesting eggs call themselves egg farms. The media calls them that too, but animal rights groups call them egg factories. The latter is closer to the truth.

Egg producers in the US have a voluntary industry animal welfare program which incidentally still allows many cruelties, including intensively confining birds in cages so overcrowded they can barely move.

It only sets forth the barest of minimum guidelines for battery-cage factory farms. Why do they bother? Who knows - just to get the animal rights activists off their backs and circumvent the law, I suppose.

If this is happening in USA and Canada, I dread to think where we get our eggs from in Malaysia.

Having bought free range eggs throughout the five years I lived in England I began to look for the same here. I never have found any eggs labelled free range in Malaysia. Worse, I've even seen photos of crowded battery hens proudly displayed on the labels underneath the name of the producer.

(sigh) I just may have to give up eating eggs and join PETA's stand on being a vegan. I'm half way there already. I don't eat any meat. I do however, take seafood, and that too selective (I don't eat sharksfin).

The very thought of every egg I consume comes from a tortured hens...quick somebody, anybody, point me to a simple kampung farmer with chickens in any State in Malaysia. I'll drive there once a month if I have to, just to get my eggs.

What is the world coming to? I wish the United Nations, the governments of the world, doctors, the policy makers, the Centre for Disease Control would stop looking for cures for diseases like bird flu and start looking for a cure for Mankind's heart. It's still pumping but you know what, it seems to have died a long time ago. We are actually living in the era where it is decomposing and stinking.

Is it any wonder that we keep seeing diseases like bird flu? You reap what you sow.

Turn up for the rally on January 21, 2006, guys!

Shoba Mano.


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