Target: Liz Truss, Secretary of State for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs
Goal: Improve factory farm-like conditions rampant in free-range farms.
So-called “free-range” chickens are being cruelly confined in filthy sheds, alleges an animal rights investigator who infiltrated a Norfolk, U.K. farm. Videos reportedly taken at the facility show tens of thousands of hens covered in sores and parasites and climbing over each other in cramped conditions. Some hens are shown stuck in wooden floors, and one is shown dead. Despite the fact that these conditions are no better than the average factory farm, an investigation by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals determined that these conditions were in line with U.K. free-range regulations.
In order to be considered free-range, farms must provide 10,000 square meters of grazing space per 2,500 hens. While the farm meets these standards, the “pop holes” through which the chickens can access the outdoors are small and often blocked by large crowds of agitated birds. These birds are considered free-range despite the fact that many of them will never walk on the grass or breathe fresh air. Despite this, their eggs are being falsely promoted as a cruelty-free alternative and are being sold at a significantly higher price.
Unfortunately, these scenes will continue to be commonplace in the free-range egg industry until legislation is implemented to stop it. Free-range farms should be required to provide ample access to outdoor areas as well as cleaner, roomier indoor conditions. Sign the petition below to demand that higher standards of animal welfare are laid out for free range egg farms.
Dear Secretary Liz Truss,
Chickens in free-range farms are living in filthy, cramped conditions hardly better than factory farms. While they are provided outdoor space, they are not capable of accessing the space due to restricted exit points. Many of the thousands of chickens kept in the massive sheds suffer from parasites and skin conditions, and will never breathe fresh air.
Free-range eggs are sold at a much higher price and are marketed as a less cruel alternative. This type of marketing is misleading to consumers. In order to stop these widespread abuses, legislation must be changed to allow the animals better access to the outdoors and cleaner, larger interior spaces. We, the undersigned, demand that animal welfare standards are improved in free-range chicken farms.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Karen Jackson