“Battery” Hens

2 hens in battery cage
Photo by: Mercy for Animals, Weaver Brothers Egg Farm in Versailles, Ohio

Megaphone, please.

"I am battery hen. I live in a cage so small I cannot stretch my wings. I am forced to stand night and day on a sloping wire mesh floor that painfully cuts into my feet. The cage walls tear my feathers, forming blood blisters that never heal. The air is so full of ammonia that my lungs hurt and my eyes burn and I think I am going blind. As soon as I was born, a man grabbed me and sheared off part of my beak with a hot iron, and my little brothers were thrown into trash bags as useless alive.

My mind is alert and my body is sensitive and I should have been richly feathered. In nature or even a farmyard I would have had sociable, cleansing dust baths with my flock mates, a need so strong that I perform 'vacuum' dust bathing on the wire floor of my cage. Free, I would have ranged my ancestral jungles and fields with my mates, devouring plants, earthworms, and insects from sunrise to dusk. I would have exercised my body and expressed my nature, and I would have given, and received, pleasure as a whole being. I am only a year old, but I am already a 'spent hen.'

Humans, I wish I were dead, and soon I will be dead. Look for pieces of my wounded flesh wherever chicken pies and soups are sold."

© United Poultry Concerns. From Karen Davis, PhD, "Thinking Like a Chicken: Farm Animals and the Feminine Connection," Animals and Women: Feminist Theoretical Explorations, Durham & London: Duke University Press, 1995.

Cypress Hens Roosting in Tree
Photo: Susan Rayfield
From rotting in cages to roosting in branches, former battery hens enjoy life at United Poultry Concerns. Despite thousands of years of domestication, chickens are essentially the wild jungle fowl of their ancestry, with the same cravings for lush soil, trees, and activities suited to the tropical forests they originated in. May is International Respect for Chickens Month. Let people know how beautiful and “green” chickens truly are. (From UPC Spring-Summer 2011 Poultry Press)


Photo by Laurie Melichar

This is Luce, who was rescued by UPC member Laurie Melichar. Every year in the United States, a quarter of a billion of these beautiful male chickens are buried alive or ground up alive by the egg industry as soon as they are born. These birds represent 250 million more reasons each year to go - and stay - vegan.

2001 & earlier