Kreider Farms, a dairy and egg operation in Manheim, Pennsylvania, keeps its chickens in too-tight quarters, showing the need for a federal egg-cage law, according to the Humane Society of the U.S.
The business’s cages are smaller even than industry norms, the Washington-based animal advocacy group said today as it released an undercover video showing dead birds being taken from quarters too tight for living animals to spread their wings.
Chicken cages may become larger under an agreement between the Humane Society and the United Egg Producers, the industry’s largest trade group, should Congress approve by June 30 a bill codifying the size of enclosures. Kreider Farms is not a part of that agreement. The bill would cost $4 billion over 15 years, according to industry estimates, and double cage space for each hen to at least 124 square inches (800 square centimeters).
“This investigation is an example of why we need a federal policy that improves the treatment of egg-laying birds,” said Michael Markarian, the Humane Society’s chief policy officer.
Ron Kreider, the president of Kreider Farms, said the company is building new facilities that will increase cage space and ventilation. The Humane Society video is taking chicken farming out of context, he said in an e-mailed statement.
“The reality of food processing can be off-putting to those not familiar with animal agriculture,” he said. “When dealing with millions of birds, there is always a small percentage of dead birds.”