Nightmare for animals at the largest egg producer in the European Union
A documented investigation by Anima International at Fermy Drobiu Woźniak, in Poland, has revealed serious welfare issues and irregularities, including injured and sick hens left without treatment and dying in cages. Almost one million hens in cages and tens of thousands in barns are reared on this farm. The company exports to 60 countries in Europe, Asia and Africa, with exports accounting for 70% of its production.
Two activists who were employed at the farm over the summer described how on a daily basis, dead hens were discovered in advanced stages of decomposition, at times obstructing conveyor belts and allowing eggs to come into contact with deceased animals. The hens live in a huge confinement, leading to multiple cases of aggression and acts of cannibalism. Despite the fact that cages were enriched, per European Union regulations, the conditions at the farm fell short of the requirements.
Hens in industrial farming lay more than 300 eggs a year. Such intensive production and high levels of exploitation result in some animals dying of exhaustion. Others go to slaughter after just 18 months or so, as their bodies are unable to sustain intense production. Under the right conditions, they could live up to 10 years.Bogna Wiltowska, Director of Investigations and Interventions, Anima International Poland (Otwarte Klatki)
A supplier who keeps the largest number of hens in the entire European Union should also be the leader in terms of welfare standards. Fermy Drobiu Woźniak’s decision to phase out cage farming would affect several million hens per year.Paweł Rawicki, President, Anima International Poland (Otwarte Klatki)
This investigation shows the horrific realities faced by animals in Europe and definitely does not bode well to an EU that claims that it is a leader in animal welfare. The European Commission now has a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to introduce a ban on cages, and to see through the democratic process in which 1.4 million EU citizens asked for transition to cage-free systems.Reineke Hameleers, CEO, Eurogroup for Animals.