By TECH CORRESPONDENT
The egg industry does not want you to see this video.
Exposing the truth about modern egg farming, the new investigative footage from Mercy for Animals (MFA) shows disturbing aerial drone footage from multiple “egg farms” — though according to filmmaker Mark Devries, special projects coordinator for MFA and director of the 2013 documentary Speciesism, these facilities are more accurately described as factories than farms.
“I hope this investigation will help expose the myth that animal products come from “farms,” and reveal that animal agriculture really takes place in massive, industrial factories,” said Devries in an interview with LFT. “Inside these factories, the animals are treated merely as production units.”
The drone flies over massive complexes where hundreds of thousands of hens are crammed into windowless warehouses, trapped in cages “so small they can barely breathe.” The suffering is palpable as the video takes us indoors, where injured, dead and decomposing birds lie among the living.
“Although the evidence indicates that cows, pigs, and chickens are just as capable of suffering as dogs and cats, they are often treated in ways that would warrant felony cruelty charges if dogs or cats were the victims,” said Devries.
Indeed, it’s not hard to imagine the severe and widespread public outrage that would erupt if puppies filled those cages instead of hens.
Far from unusual, the facilities here — filmed at undisclosed locations in Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma from December 2016 through March 2017 — are typical of the U.S. egg industry, in which five large companies control more than a third of the market.
In addition to treating sensitive, intelligent individuals as commodities, the industry creates stomach-churning volumes of waste, dumping thousands of gallons of feces into vast “manure lagoons.”
Aerial cameras allow us to finally see these animal factories in their full ugliness — a once-impossible task. Even with drone technology, such footage is not easy to come by.
“Drone filming can be very difficult,” said Devries. “There are many challenges involved with finding the facilities and determining the locations from which to launch drones. There was a great deal of practice and hard work involved with obtaining the footage that we have.”
But footage like this is crucial to exposing the industry, which still insists on plastering egg cartons with insidiously deceiving images of country barnyards and happy hens — a practice that has led to multiple false advertising lawsuits as the truth about farming conditions comes to light.
Along with knowledge comes responsibility. And egg factories like these can be stopped if consumers refuse to support them.
“Every one of us has the power to stand up against industrial animal agriculture by using alternatives to eggs. The industry only engages in these practices because people buy its products, and therefore we can stop these practices by refusing to do so,” said Devries.
He notes, “There have been rapid and dramatic changes in the agriculture industry as a result of individuals changing their purchasing habits – and sharing information like this investigation video, to help encourage others to do the same.”
While traditional news reporting is losing its relevance, serious investigation now requires more than basic journalistic skills. To do this we require a lot of resources.
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