MEXICO CITY—Friday, October 11, is World Egg Day, and Humane Society International, one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations, wants to draw the attention of Mexicans to the reality of egg production – in Mexico and globally – and inform consumers how they can help improve the welfare of millions of hens. Watch our World Egg Day video.
Around the world, more than 7 billion hens are raised per year. Mexico is the fourth largest egg producer in the world with 156 million laying hens.
In Mexico, the vast majority of hens spend their entire lives crammed in metal cages, where they cannot stretch their wings or walk. The space per hen in these cages is less than a letter-sized sheet of paper, and the restriction is so severe that hens usually develop abnormalities in their bones due to their inability to move, and experience stress and frustration by not being able to perform their natural behaviors.
Hens are sentient, intelligent and sociable animals. Scientific studies have shown that they can count; they anticipate the future, which in turn affects their decision-making; they empathize with their chicks; and they enjoy social activities such as dust-bathing.
Vivian Argüelles, animal behavior and welfare specialist for HSI/Mexico, said, “In the wild, chickens spend their day scratching and pecking the ground in search of food. They dust-bathe to keep their feathers clean and healthy. They look for different places to lay their eggs, and at night they sleep on tree branches to keep themselves protected from predators. In cages, hens cannot do any of these things.”
Several countries have totally or partially banned the use of cages for egg-laying hens, including the members of the European Union, Bhutan, India and New Zealand. In the United States, several states, such as California and Washington, have passed their own bans.
“In recent years, growing concern about and the rejection of the intensive confinement of egg-laying hens have mobilized companies, governments, universities and organizations to develop and implement alternatives that offer better welfare conditions to these animals,” Argüelles said.
Among the alternatives available in the Mexican market, there are cage-free production systems, where hens live in closed sheds and have nests in which to lay their eggs, elevated perches where they can rest, litter to scratch, peck and dust-bathe and enough space to walk, stretch their wings and fly. In free-range systems, hens also have access to an outside area where they can exercise, sunbathe and receive greater stimulation from their environment.
In Mexico, cage-free eggs are already available in supermarkets, and dozens of companies in the food industry have made commitments to buy only cage-free eggs in their supply chains by 2020, 2022 or 2025 at the latest. These companies include Grupo Bimbo, Toks, CMR, McDonalds and 100% Natural, to name a few.
Humane Society International works with food industry companies on the adoption and implementation of their cage-free policies and with poultry farmers to achieve a successful transition. The shift towards systems of greater animal welfare will continue, as more consumers say, “No” to cages and, if they consume eggs, choose cage-free.
Media contact: Laura Bravo, firstname.lastname@example.org, 04455 54556 1476
About Humane Society International
Humane Society International and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world’s largest animal protection organizations. For more than 25 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide – on the Web at hsi.org