Battery Cages are used in the manufacture of eggs across Canada, and British Columbia is no different.
Battery cages measure approximately 20” deep by 24” wide (51cm x 61cm) with a height of 14" (35cm). They have sloping wire floors and provide a a barren floor space of between 432 cm and 483 cm squared per bird (Canadian Agrifood Research Council, 2003), with five to seven birds confined in each cage.
They have been criticized by animal welfare organizations and scientists throughout the world. Battery cages represent one of the worst manifestations of industrial farming. Yet in 2003, according to Agriculture and Agri-food Canada statistics, 26 million egg-laying hens were kept in battery cages in Canada.
As a result of the intensive confinement, the birds usually have their beaks cut to control aggressive pecking among cagemates. Conditions such as osteoporosis, foot ailments, frustration, and premature death are common among battery hens. These birds spend about a year in battery cages (for a total of 16 to 18 months if they have also been reared in cages) or until their productivity declines. They are then slaughtered and used for chicken by-products or compost.
To download the most recent Vancouver Humane Society report (PDF) on battery egg farms, click here.