BOSTON (CBS/AP) — The Humane Society of the United States is asking for a probe of what it calls cruel and inhumane conditions at New England’s largest egg-producing farm.
The group released a video it says was shot by a worker at the facility in Turner, Maine. The organization says the video shows egg-laying hens crammed into wire cages so small they cannot spread their wings, and sometimes surrounded by the decaying carcasses of other birds.
“And these birds were laying eggs for human consumption on top of these decomposing corpses inside of their cages,” said Paul Shapiro, Vice President of Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society, at a press conference.
In addition, a post on a Humane Society blog says hens were “trapped by their necks, wings, and feet in the rusty wire cages,” while others were “found with bloody prolapses and horrendous facial abnormalities.”
The facility produces eggs distributed to many New England stores.
“It’s very disturbing to see that eggs that are so ubiquitous in the marketplace are coming from a facility with such hideously cruel and inhumane conditions,” said Shapiro.
The operator of the Maine facility, Pennsylvania-based Hillandale Farms, promised a statement Tuesday.
Shapiro said that, late last week, the Humane Society filed complaints about the facility with the Maine Department of Agriculture, as well as the FDA. A spokesman for the Maine agriculture department confirmed receiving a request to investigate conditions at the farm.
Shapiro said the video hammers home the need for cage-free facilities.
“This whistleblowing expose underscores the importance of hastening that transition,” he said.
The Humane Society is among sponsors of a Massachusetts proposal that would ban the sale of food products from farms that hold animals in overly restrictive cages.
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WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Ben Parker reports