Wegmans Cruelty: An Unofficial Blog

This is an unofficial blog and informational archive related to the WEGMANSCRUELTY film and resulting campaign.

Please see that page for more information.

Monday, August 29, 2005

A Perfectly Well-Rehearsed Lie

Animal Writings: Essays and Musings on Animals and Society

Here's another great letter by United Poultry Concerns president Karen Davis, PhD, in which she solidly refutes the outrageous contention by Wegmans' egg farm veterinarian Dr. Benjamin Lucio-Martinez that hens do "perfectly well" in the tiny wire cages that Wegmans provides for them as a life-long home.

"[Biologist Marian Stamp] Dawkins explains that if hens kept all their lives on wire floors are suddenly given access to a floor of wood-shavings or peat, they have 'an immediate and strong preference for these more natural floors over the wire ones. ... They dustbathe, eat particles of peat and scratch with their feet. It is not just the extra comfort afforded by a soft floor that attracts them, but all the behavior they can do there as well.'

By contrast, when hens are forced to stand and sit on wire mesh, their feet can become sore, cracked and deformed. The hen's claws, which are designed to scratch vigorously, and thus stay short and blunt, become long, thin, twisted and broken. They can curl around the wire floor and entrap the hen, causing her to starve to death inches from her food and water.

The overriding issue is that hens are birds with behavior patterns that have no outlet in a cage. And it isn't just animal advocates who point this out.

Concerning battery cages for hens, Dr. Lesley Rogers writes in her book, The Development of Brain and Behaviour in the Chicken: 'In no way can these living conditions meet the demands of a complex nervous system designed to form a multitude of memories and to make complex decisions.'"

Battery caged hens are turned into living and dying statues, unable to take three steps in any direction. They're permanently trapped in tiny wire containers. They're denied the chance to walk around, explore, forage, socialize, or clean themselves, which they would do immediately and every day if given the chance. They have no stimulation, no variety, no opportunity to make decisions. Hens are intelligent, curious, social, adpative, and emotional animals. Sensory deprivation is a slow, erosive torture.

What sort of person could look at these pitiful creatures and claim they're doing "perfectly well?" An unfeeling brute. A delusional sadist. Or a liar. Hens can't even stand up straight in a battery cage. They can't lift one wing. Would you do "perfectly well" sitting in the middle seat of a DC-10 your entire life? I'd love to have Dr. Lucio look directly at a half-feathered, blistered, tired, feces-covered hen who's forced to sleep next to a rotting corpse, hook him up to a lie detector, and ask him if this hen is doing "perfectly well." No matter how he answers, he incriminates himself.

CEO Danny Wegman recently announced, "Last year, we were determined the best company to work for in America. Basically, the chickens are working for us. So, we're going to make sure they're well treated one way or the other. If there's a way to do better, we'll do it."

I'll overlook the fact that the hens never applied for a job at Wegmans, and assume that there's a grain of truth to Mr. Wegman's pledge to treat the hens better. Credit for this public consideration of hen welfare improvements must be given to Compassionate Consumers, which exposed the horrid conditions and suffering inside the Wegmans egg farm. Two suggestions for Wegmans if they're serious:

  1. Get rid of those stinking battery cages.

  2. Hire a more honest and more observant veterinarian.
Related Link:

Wegman's Cruelty: An Unofficial Blog

Related post:

Eggregious Lies from Wegmans

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