‘Fighting for bigger cages and ‘better’ treatment of animals is contradictory and ridiculous. It will never lead to empty cages’ – Gary Yourofsky

The EU banned battery cages in the egg production industry on 1st January 2012. Some Irish farmers did not comply with the regulations despite having ten years notice of the ruling and financial aid to help them do so. The Irish Farmers Association reported that Irish farmers who had not equipped their factory farms with ‘enriched’ cages would kill the hens early (i.e. prior to the end of their capacity to make a profit for the farmers but NOT at the end of the hens’ natural lifespans). Despite the fact that the farmers were reassured by the Alliance for Animal Rights (AFAR) that there were lifelong homes available for these hens and despite the offer of payment matching that of slaughterhouses, 80,000 to 90,000 hens were needlessly slaughtered. However, 600 hens were rescued and some of these hens have arrived at their new home at Eden.

Her first day of freedom.

They are adjusting to their new life despite the fact that some are limping from foot injuries that are commonly sustained on the wire floors of battery cages, and others have extensive feather loss. They are all very pale and have enlarged combs typical of hens reared in cages. Upon rescue some exhibited signs of depression, preferring to tuck their heads into their wings and sleep than explore their new surroundings. It will take some time for them to recover from the social, sensory, emotional, physical, and cognitive deprivation of living in the cramped conditions of a battery cage where they had so little room that they could not walk or open their wings, and where they had nothing to engage their sharp cognitive capacities.



They are exhibiting obvious pleasure in their new surroundings, avidly pecking everything new, availing of the privacy of their nest boxes, tentatively exploring the grass underfoot, and feeling the rays of the sun for the first time in their lives. It is a privilege to be a part of their liberation from human oppression, to witness their connection with the earth, and to help restore to them what was so treacherously stolen from them by human hands.These hens have been rescued but hundreds of thousands of hens are killed in Ireland every day in the meat and egg industries. The new ‘enriched’ cages still do not allow the hens to walk; they still deprive them of the liberty of daylight, movement, and opportunities to engage in normal social relationships and environmental exploration. There are currently over a million caged hens in Ireland.

But for the sake of some little mouthful of flesh we deprive a soul of the sun and light, and of that proportion of life and time it had been born into the world to enjoy.   – Plutarch