Image: Still from YouTube, Mercy for Animals
For two weeks, a Mercy for Animals investigator operated a hidden camera secretly inside of one of America's largest hatcheries. In a calm voice, the narrator describes the scenes playing in the video. The video captures the horror of the post-industrial food chain, where live animals flutter in panic along assembly line operations that proceed with deliberate calmness and unmerciful purpose. Many of the chicks in the image above, excerpted from the video, are heading towards a gruesome death by being ground up while still alive.
CAUTION: the scenes in the video overleaf are extremely disturbing.
Video: YouTube, Mercy for Animals
Cute, fluffy chicks bounce roughly along assembly lines. 150,000 male chicks per day are sorted out by operators known as "sexers" and tossed aside to be ground alive because they cannot produce eggs and will not grow fast enough for meat. Death by being ground alive is merciful in contrast: chicks that get caught in the machinery, slip through, or accidentally end up in the wrong place at the wrong time suffer terribly before dying. Females that make it through sorting face a life in confined, factory farm conditions.
On the Mercy for Animals website, a consumer right-to-know label is proposed:
Citing the troubling findings of this investigation, Mercy For Animals is calling on the nation's 50 largest grocery chains to require that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label reading, "Warning: Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry."
If any TreeHugger reader works in a hatchery, let us know your experiences in the comments. If you eat eggs, please share your feelings about what this video shows. Given that animals have to die before they become food (we know the vegans disagree, but many humans will remain omnivorous): how much cruelty must be tolerated? What can be done to deliver food with respect for the animals that give their lives to be part of our food chain?
More on Animal Cruelty:
Hatchery Horrors, Mercy for Animals
Hatchery Horrors: Readers React
Heroes Star Tries to Stop Dolphin Hunt in Japan
So What Does the Inside of a Factory Farm Look Like Anyway? (Slideshow)
Animal Visuals Gives Bird's Eye View of Factory Farm Cage