Jesus compared God’s love for us to the love that a mother hen feels for her chicks. It’s a tender image but one that is a far cry from the nightmarish reality endured by hundreds of millions of hens used by the egg industry every year.
It takes approximately 34 hours for a mother hen to produce one egg.
God made hens to love dustbathing and foraging for their food. But this is where the U.S. egg industry keeps 346 million hens each year:
Their lives consist of two years of unnatural misery, starting right when they are born.
Instead of nests built by their mothers, chicks are born in large incubators such as these:
They will never see their mothers or know a compassionate touch.
God made male and female birds, but shortly after birth, the males and females are separated.
The females will spend their lives in a battery cage.
And the males are either tossed into trash bags to suffocate …
… or ground up alive. Yes, you read that right.
God made chickens to use their beaks to find food, establish social hierarchies, and clean themselves, but female chicks have the ends of their beaks cut off with a hot blade.
Hens are crammed into tiny wire “battery” cages.
Can’t tell how many birds are in there? Between five and 11. On average, each hen has less living space than is taken up by an iPad.
The cages are often stacked on top of one another …
… so urine and feces fall down onto birds in the lower cages.
If we’re made in God’s image, why do we allow this?
The living conditions are so terrible that chickens often die in the cages.
The dead hens are left to rot slowly in the same space as the living birds.
Two years later, their bodies no longer able to produce eggs in such stressful conditions, the surviving hens are sent to slaughter.
A chicken’s natural lifespan is 10 to 15 years.
At the slaughterhouse, laying hens meet the same bloody end as that of chickens raised for their meat.
They are shackled and hung upside down.
They try desperately to escape.
They are electrocuted, although this may fail to render them unconscious.
So they are still able to feel pain when their throats are cut, and many are scalded to death.
Each bird is a living, breathing being, created by God, yet this is the reality for hundreds of millions of chickens each year. Their God-created bodies are manipulated and mutilated. We deny them every God-given instinct and desire, veterinary care, and even an ounce of mercy. Even in death, they are not afforded the minimal compassion of a human touch.