Cages are extremely cruel, and sadly they are just one of many cruelties chickens are forced to endure in the egg industry. In all commercial egg systems – cage, barn-raised, free-range or organic – male chicks are considered ‘worthless’ and are killed on their first day of life.
Female chicks are raised to replace hens who are sent to slaughter at just 18-30 months old — a fraction of their natural lifespan. As newborns, the tips of their beaks can be cut off without pain relief to reduce aggressive pecking fueled by frustration when they cannot move freely, forage, or establish a natural social structure.
Because the males bred into the industry won’t grow up to produce eggs they are ‘disposed of’ by gassing or maceration – enshrined in our laws, this practice is considered by the industry and government as an acceptable cost of doing business.
Chickens are unique individuals just like the companion animals we share our homes with. But instead of being valued for who they are, their value is determined by how many eggs they can produce for the commercial market.