This footage exposes the horrific conditions inside a Spanish battery farm where semi-plucked chickens are kept in crowded cages infested with rats and eggs are seen covered in mites.
The images were released on World Egg Day, 8th October, by the Spanish animal rights NGO Equalia who recorded the footage at an unspecified farm in the muncipality of Yebra, in Castilla La Mancha, in 2020.
The images show the chickens living in crowded cages, many of them infested with rats.
In the footage, one of the workers is seen dropping the chickens from the top of a ladder and then kicking the semi-conscious birds along the ground.
One of the most concerning finds made by the NGO is the images of several eggs that appear to be littered with black mites.
Equalia said in a statement obtained by Newsflash that the crowded conditions are not unusual but the presence of rats and mites made this case particularly concerning.
According to the statement, Equalia’s legal department believes the images constitute serious crimes of animal abuse and public health, and has filed a complaint against the farm.
The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) concluded that cages are not a safe or sustainable production system as it entails risks in terms of food safety and human health.
Claudio Padrino, head of the reported poultry farm, told the Spanish new site el Diario that the whole thing was a “set up”.
He added: “There is the European regulation on animal welfare of 2012 that we strictly follow, how could we not?
“I have been a farmer for over 40 years and I owe my life to the chickens, I love them.”
The group claims that battery farming often results in dangerous and inhumane conditions, which is why they are calling for it to be banned entirely across the EU.
The statement pointed to the UK as an example of progress on the issue where Tory MP Henry Smith introduced a Ten Minute Rule Bill calling on the government to ban cages for laying hens by 2026.
The bill, which was supported by animal protection charity The Humane League UK, was passed and a second hearing is expected to take place on 22nd October.
European consumers have also been expressing their rejection of this method of farming, according to the NGO.
The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) ‘End the Cage Age’, in which Equalia collaborated with more than 170 organisations, gained the support of 1.4 million citizens.
Julia Elizalde, Equalia’s Corporate Campaigns Coordinator, said: “The European Commission is committed to eliminating cages in animal husbandry across the EU by 2027.”
She added: “The food sector has the opportunity to get ahead of the curve and develop business policies that incorporate animal welfare as an integral element of food sustainability.”
No more information has been realised regarding the progress of the NGO legal case against the farm.