Sinergia Animal, in partnership with the NGO Protección Animal Ecuador (PAE), launched the first undercover investigation showing the sad reality of the egg industry in three provinces of Ecuador.
The video shows hens living in filthy battery cages, in which they eat, sleep and defecate 24 hours a day. They cannot open their wings completely and walk freely, let alone express their most natural behaviors, such as nesting and perching. According to PAE, 86% of the almost 15 million hens in Ecuador live in these systems.
"Our journalists also noticed that inside the barns, the ammonia smell was almost unbearable," says Shady Heredia, PAE's campaign coordinator. Given the number of animals and the lack of frequent cleaning, the ditches in which the hens' feces fall are cleaned every three or four months—or, in some cases, only after years.
Hens are also subjected to the common, but cruel, practice of debeaking. The tips of their beaks are cut to stop them from hurting themselves due to the cramped and stressful conditions of the cages. The confinement in cages only ends when hens are about two years old, when these animals are sent to slaughter.
This investigation is part of Sinergia Animal's mission to support other Global South organizations.
"We are very passionate about movement building and supporting other bold activists and organizations. We operate in the Global South, in countries where the animal rights movement is still very incipient. In these parts of the world, support and true collaboration among organizations can make a big difference for animals," explains Carolina Galvani, Sinergia Animal's CEO. "One of the ways we found to do this is by offering our expertise in investigations. We provide free training to other NGOs so they can start conducting these activities themselves," she says.
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