Switzerland-Lucerne Newspaper, 23.02.2022
97 percent of all laying hens have a broken sternum: X-rays with shock results!
Egg laying non-stop: The work of laying chickens has surprising consequences for the animals, as new analyzes by the University of Bern (Switzerland) show.
Organic hens from supermarket chain “Migros” and “Coop” are also affected, as reported by “K-Tipp” (a Swiss consumer magazine which is the magazine with the most readers in Switzerland. .
This result makes your egg stick in your throat: researchers from the University of Bern regularly X-rayed 150 laying hens in Switzerland over a period of ten months to analyze the physical consequences of their egg production.
They came to the conclusion that 97 percent of the animals had a broken sternum.
This is reported by the “K-Tipp” in its current issue.
On average, each chicken had three broken bones – in some animals it was as many as eleven.
According to the consumer magazine, the problem is not new, but the results indicated that it is bigger than previously known.
In earlier studies, for example, many fractures went undetected because the researchers only felt the bones and did not X-ray them.
Water with painkillers
That’s what Michael Toscano, head of the Center for Animal Welfare at the University of Bern, suspects.
“You often don’t see the pain in the chickens.
Nevertheless, there is evidence that a condition is present: Hens with broken bones move less.
They take longer to get off their perches.
And they choose to drink water that contains painkillers more often,” Toscano told “K-Tipp”.
According to the University of Bern, there are various reasons for the fractures.
But it is clear that the bones of the overbred chickens are brittle.
On average, a laying hen produces 323 eggs – almost one egg a day.
Chickens get the calcium they need for eggshells from their own bones.
The assumption of veterinarians is that the bones do not regenerate this calcium completely and therefore become porous.
According to the report, it is also possible that some animals start laying eggs too early when their bones are not yet developed.
With the result that just a violent flapping of the wings or a collision with the perch causes the breastbone to crack.
Hanno Würbel, Professor of Animal Welfare at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bern, criticizes sharply the situation:
“With today’s keeping and breeding of chickens, pain and suffering for many animals is inevitable.
And that’s just not sustainable.”
The extent of suffering is enormous worldwide.
According to Würbel, almost all laying hens used in Switzerland are affected in all forms of husbandry, including free-range and organic farms that are sold in Swiss supermarkets.
The Swiss supermarket chain “Migros” only tells the magazine that the issue affects the entire industry.
She does not want to comment further on the broken bones.
According to the report, egg producers around the world keep the same high-performance breeds.
Their breeding is therefore in the hands of a few corporations such as the German EW Group or the Dutch Hendrix Genetics.
They are currently trying to breed hens that are less prone to fractures.
The federal government and the egg producers are also counting on this.
Low alternative offer
Instead, the animal protection organization recommends switching to dual-purpose chickens, which provide meat as well as eggs.
These lay 70 to 100 fewer eggs per year and are therefore likely to be significantly less affected by fractures.
However, of the 3.4 million laying hens in Switzerland today, just under 20,000 are dual-purpose chickens.
And I mean…Almost 70 percent of all “farm animals” in Switzerland are chickens.
After fish, chickens are the animals we kill the most every year-worldwide.
The strongest intensification has taken place in poultry fattening. Approximately 63% of the chickens in Germany live in huge halls with up to 6,000 animals.
High-performance breeds are bred to lay a particularly large number of eggs in a short period of time.
After about a year, the animals are so exhausted that they can no longer perform well and are killed.
At the end of their lives, the animals are severely weakened by their cruel life, have an inflamed cloaca and almost no feathers left, partly because they peck at each other due to the poor keeping conditions.
They are kept in confined spaces, often without natural light, and live in cramped stalls on their own dung.
Male chicks must be discarded because they don’t lay eggs and weren’t bred to put on a lot of meat in a short amount of time—and so aren’t profitable.
Every year in the EU, more than 300 million chicks are crushed alive in a shredder or gassed immediately after hatching.
In Switzerland alone there are 2.3 million annually.
At the age of 12-15 months, the animals are slaughtered and often still marketed as soup chickens, turkeys are 3-4 months old at the time of slaughter..
When the chickens are caught, panic often breaks out in the coop, and many chickens are injured or suffocate under their own kind.
The brutal egg industry is responsible for massive animal suffering and apparently this is not uncommon and not country-related.
Dead hens, inflamed cesspools, broken legs and bones, bare pecked animals and wrongly declared eggs, the egg industry is gambling away a cruel reality with rosy advertising promises of allegedly happy chickens.
The global chicken business is a bad thing.
Locked up by the thousands in a very small space, the suffering of these animals bred for maximum performance never ends.
Using animals as disposable goods is unethical and reprehensible.
The tragic irony is that none of this all is actually necessary – because there are plenty of alternatives.
Good food is also possible without eggs, without meat, without animal products, i.e. without animals having to suffer and die for our food.
My best regards to all, Venus