The short, miserable lives of caged hens

Letters to the Editor

Regarding the article “Egg industry to fight cage-free proposal” (Capital, Oct. 2), I am concerned that the conversation is too abstract. Most people have never seen a battery cage system, where cages are stacked one on top of another so that the birds above defecate on those below them. In these gigantic facilities, hundreds of thousands of hens live out their short lives without ever moving about or seeing the sun. Animal welfare scientists have documented numerous abnormal behaviors that these creatures, which are arguably more intelligent than cats, develop as a result of their confinement. Premature deaths are too frequent for the underpaid workers to catch them all, so you can always find decomposing birds rotting in some of the cages. As for those that make it, their bodies become so frail that when they are removed from the cages near the end of their lives, at least a third suffer broken bones as a result of being handled. On the other hand, people might have to pay a few cents more for an egg. Harrison Nathan Boston