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by Dorothy H. Hayes
From 10 AM to Noon on July 19, 2008 residents and those
representing animal advocacy groups protested at Kofkoff Egg Farm, 400 Mack Road, Lebanon, CT.
Kofkoff Egg Farm dominates the egg market in Connecticut with a population of 4.7 million hens.
Kofkoff like other egg farms house from 36,000 to 100,000 birds in one building, with numbers that vary from six to eight birds a cage. Egg farms ignore all the features of natural habitat. The farms’ cruel conditions produce torment and diseased chickens that require the habitual use of antibiotics to reduce the threat to humans.
“While we recommend egg replacers,” says Lynn Gorfinkle, the CEO of Animal Rights Alliance, of Redding, CT. “we ask Kofkoff to let the hens out of the cages. The hens’ misery is well documented and indisputable. The hens are exposed to ailments produced by living in pervasive filth and polluted air mainly caused by the toxic ammonia fumes rising from the manure pits beneath the cages. Threats to human health are also well documented,” says Gorfinkle.
“Kofkoff hens suffered an outbreak of bird flu in 2003 resulting in the destruction of thousands of hens and a quarantine. The industry continues to be plagued by the disease, says the Center for Infectious Disease.”
The hens’ hidden suffering is exposed in photographs received from an anonymous contributor by Wesleyan University’s students in Middletown, CT:
As a result of further study, on April 27, 2003 the Wesleyan Student Assembly passed (18-5-2) EON's resolution calling for the removal of eggs from caged, debeaked, or force-molted hens, and also for exclusive sale of organic free-range eggs in WeShop and the removal of eggs as non-essential ingredients in other dining facilities.”
The students named for their decision to ban battery-caged eggs concerns for the inhumanity of the intensive confinement of hens, the exposure to disease to the hens, workers and consumers, concerns for the environment, the exploitation of workers, and agribusiness’ ruination of small farmers, among other concerns.
Because of the many ills of the intensive confinement system, battery cages will be phased out in EU countries by 2012 and in California this November voters through a referendum will have the opportunity to outlaw battery cages. In Connecticut, a bill to ban battery cages died in committee in 2007.
“We’re urging our legislators to introduce a new bill to outlaw battery cages and to supply the hens’ basic needs," says Gorfinkle. “Farms must dramatically reduce the numbers of hens in one facility, provide enough space for hens' to spread their wings, give them exposure to natural light and an outside area, nesting areas, litter to scratch, the ability to dust bathe and put an end to beak trimming.”
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