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Expert Statements on California Egg Farm Investigation

Independent experts in bird welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA’s undercover investigation of Gemperle Enterprises. Below are some of their statements:

Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D.

Dr. Buyuckmihci is an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. He has over 34 years of experience, much of it involving farmed animals including chickens and turkeys. Dr. Buyuckmihci states:

"The handling method was extremely violent: the workers roughly pushed the birds through the small openings, with no apparent regard for causing injuries. Wings, necks and legs impeded the process, but the workers just pushed harder, almost certainly causing blunt trauma at the very least and possibly fracturing bones in the more severe cases."

"Footage of the battery cages showed extreme crowding so that the birds could not lie down or walk, spread their wings or rest without all the rest of the birds moving aside (not that that would happen). This demonstrated that cage size was insufficient for normal postural adjustments."

"There is no question that the manner in which the chickens were treated was cruel by any normal definition of the word and resulted in suffering for the birds. The treatment of the hens violated norms of conduct with respect to animal welfare and veterinary care."

Click here for Buyukmihci's entire statement.

Sara Shields, Ph.D.

Dr. Shields is an animal welfare scientist and teaches animal sciences. Dr. Shields earned her Ph.D. at the University of California, Davis, in the Animal Behavior program. There she worked with both broiler chickens and laying hens. She also worked in the Emergency Disease Program at the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

"Stepping on a bird or twisting her neck is absolutely NOT an acceptable method for killing a chicken. However, both of these methods are shown in the video. The hens were undoubtedly in acute pain and continued to suffer a protracted, slow death, as the video clearly shows they are not dead when left."

"The video also shows that birds were subjected to unnecessarily rough handling, likely causing stress and fear as they were transferred to and from cages. Laying hens are fragile animals and are prone to skeletal weaknesses and their bones are easily broken, if they are not handled carefully."

"Some hens shown in the video have injuries, infections, cloacal prolapse, and show signs of possible disease. Many of the injured birds are clearly suffering, and some are without a doubt in great pain."

"Cages are inherently cruel, and the suffering, injury, and death of hens on farms are unfortunately and unacceptably commonplace. However, the actions of personnel captured in the video add a further element of inhumanity to these birds’ already severely compromised state of well-being."

Click here for Dr. Shield's entire statement.

Robert Teti, DVM

Dr. Teti received his Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Ursinus College & his doctorate in veterinary medicine from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine.

"The response of these birds to the handlers clearly demonstrates that these animals are stressed, in pain, and suffering. The flapping of their wings; the wriggling about on the ground; the kicking of their legs….these are not the actions of content, well-treated animals."

"The footage of the animal handling at this facility demonstrates that animal suffering is not being prevented or even minimized. In fact, the suffering of the animals does not appear to be a concern or a priority. This is not only cruel, but completely unacceptable."

Christi Camblor, DVM

Dr. Camblor received her Bachelors of Science in Animal Biology and her doctorate in veterinary medicine at the University of California, Davis.

"The animal suffering demonstrated in this footage is demonstrative of the inherent cruelty within the battery cage system wherein the sheer volume of chickens that are being populated coupled with the poor design of the door/cage they are being placed in leads to invariable brutality. Undoubtedly bones are broken, muscles bruised, and other painful injuries endured as these birds are repeatedly bashed up against metal wire. The birds are then left to live with these injuries within the confines of their overcrowded battery cages."

"The animal handling shown in this video is demonstrative of gross animal cruelty and violates all standards of animal welfare. Animals are crushed to death, tossed aside with broken bones and massive injury, and handled with careless brutality."

Click here for Dr. Camblor's entire statement.


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