ARC (Awakening Respect and Compassion for all Sentient Beings) 


“If, as the evidence indicates, animals are aware, and birds have human-like intelligence, emotions, and personalities, then... modern humans have been fundamentally wrong about the nature of basic reality. Since they have been mistaken about their closest and most common wild neighbors, the birds, they need to reassess and reevaluate their presumed understanding of reality and their relationship to everything around them, beginning with birds and extending out to all animals and all of nature.”[1]

Around 95% of commercially available eggs come from egg factories, where the birds are held in “battery cages,” 14 inch wire cages which hold five to eight birds. To prevent aggression due to the stress of such unnatural living conditions, chicks are de-beaked, which is a euphemistic way of saying their beaks are seared off without any anesthesia. The cages extend from one end of the barn to the other and are stacked on top of one another so that the birds on all but the top row are constantly showered with urine and feces from the other birds.

To boost egg production on the modern farm, hens often undergo a process known as forced molting. Molting refers to the process whereby a hen loses all of her feathers and grows new feathers. In nature this happens once a year usually during the fall so the hen will have new full plumage to keep her warm through the winter. While molting, she stops laying eggs as her body directs most of its energy to growing the new feathers. On factory farms, hens are manipulated into molting on a planned schedule that increases profit. Forced molting means the molt will be shorter and the hens will continue to lay eggs when market egg prices are highest. This is achieved through starvation. Typical starvation periods are between five to fourteen days. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture there are over 6 million hens in the U.S. who are being systematically starved in their cages at any given time.[2]

The dirtiest secret of the egg industry is what happens to the male chicks. All egg laying hens, whether they are on a large scale commercial industrialized farm (a.k.a factory farm) or an organic, free range, “humane” farm, or even backyard chickens, all come from a hatchery. The hatchery is where egg layers are produced. The chickens who are raised for meat (“broilers”) are selectively bred to produce as much meat as possible. Egg layers are not. Therefore animal agriculture has manipulated two entirely different breeds of chicken, one for laying eggs and one for meat consumption.

                As soon as chicks hatch, they are immediately “sexed.” That is, a worker at the hatchery checks the sex of the chick. If that chick is female, she becomes a layer. But a male born to the egg industry cannot be used for meat, (he’s not been bred to fatten up enough) and is equally useless to the egg industry because he can’t produce eggs. So, if that chick is a male, point blank, he is killed.

                260 million male chicks are killed at egg hatcheries in the US every year. The most common industry methods for killing them are maceration, which means they are ground up alive in large machines, and gassing.   

                All hatcheries kill the males. The egg industry could not stay in business any other way.


[1] Theodore Xenophon Barber, Scientific Evidence that Birds are Aware, Intelligent, and Astonishingly Like Humans: Implications and Future Research Directions

[2] “Forced Molting”, United Poultry Concerns, 2010,