The Thursday, March 16, New York Times has an article on the trial of activist Adam Durand, headed, "Capturing Caged Hens on Video Brings a Charge of Burglary." (Pg B5) Durand is charged with felony burglary for having trespassed at Wegmans egg farm, shot video, and rescued a few of the most sickly hens. The footage was made into a 27-minute documentary called "Wegmans Cruelty," which was screened at a Rochester film festival -- and is covered today in the New York Times.
"In 2003, Mr. Durand learned that an overwhelming majority of the world's eggs are produced at farms where hens are caged. At some farms, the hens are literally piled on top of each other in a cage without enough room to lie down or flap their wings. Cages are stacked in rows, so farmers can house more birds. But that leaves hens on the lower rows vulnerable to dripping feces."
We read that Durand "decided to investigate the conditions at one of the largest egg farms in the state, which is owned by the Rochester-based supermarket chain Wegmans." The company denied his request for a tour so he and his companions, finding the farm unlocked, wandered on, aware that they were trespassing.
The article continues:
"They said they found hens were closely confined, sometimes spattered with manure and sickly. In some cages, a hen carcass was left with live chickens, he said. Below the cages were manure pits, some with mounds three to four feet deep. 'We could hardly breathe,' he said."
We learn that after the film's debut, "Wegmans pressed burglary and other charges against Mr. Durand and two of his friends." The article ends with a quote from him:
"I'm glad we did it. I have faith that whatever comes out of it legally, that it will be worth it."
An article in the New York Times on the treatment of egg-laying hens is a good start. You can read the full article on line at http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/16/nyregion/16hen.html. Please keep the discussion of this issue alive with letters to the editor. The New York Times takes letters at firstname.lastname@example.org
Always include your full name, address, and daytime phone number when sending a letter to the editor. Shorter letters are more likely to be published.
A great source of information, where you can even watch the film on line, is http://www.wegmanscruelty.com/
Yours and the animals',
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Date: Thu Mar 16 11:48:36 2006