Animal rights group publishes video of bald, crippled layer hens

A Dutch animal rights group has published video showing Dutch poultry farms with dead hens on the barn floor, crippled chickens and birds which are virtually bald.

‘Research shows that 8% to 15% of battery farm hens die, but when the inspectors visit or on open days there is not a dead bird to be seen,’ spokesman Johan Boonstra told broadcaster NOS.

The organisation Ongehoord (unheard) took secret video at nine poultry farms during the night. They include farms with the Beter Leven (better life) kite mark and farms operated by board members of the farming sector lobby group LTO Nederland.

Poultry farmer Eric Hubers said he considers the group behaved in a criminal way. ‘They broke into barns at night and the hens were shocked by the camera lights,’ he said. He also said the group could have planted the dead birds.

‘It would not be the first time that dead animals have been taken out of a tub of bodies,’ he told NOS.

Hubers’ barns have some 10,000 chickens and there is always one to be found with something wrong with it, he said. ‘When you keep animals, you always have to deal with life and death.’

Ongehoord said the claims that they had manipulated the images were cheap and absurd.

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