In the wake of the largest egg recall in United States history and consensus of animal rights groups worldwide, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama has issued an official statement to Humane Society International (HSI) condemning the egg industry’s cruel treatment of hens and urging consumers to switch to cage-free eggs:
“The abuse we inflict on hens has always been particularly disturbing to me, and I have always been particularly concerned toward how these animals are treated in industrial food production. I was troubled to learn from my friends at the Humane Society about the practice of confining egg-laying hens in tiny cages.”
Several countries have already banned battery hen cages, including Finland, Switzerland, Germany, Austria and Norway, with remaining European Union nations in the process phasing cages out as a total ban on the farming practice by 2012 looms.
“In these cages, birds cannot engage in their natural behaviours such as spreading their wings, laying eggs in a nesting area, perching, scratching at the ground, and even standing on a solid surface. Each hen has less space to live in than the very sheet of paper I have written this letter on. Turning these defenceless animals into egg-producing machines with no consideration for their welfare whatsoever is a degradation of our own humanity. Switching to cage free eggs would reduce the suffering of these animals. Tibetans have a rich history of protecting the most vulnerable in society and opposing cruelty, which is why it is natural for me to encourage the change to cage free eggs. Following in this tradition, I hope compassion and kindness will prevail in this very serious matter.” the Dalai Lama continued.
HSI director Verna Simpson said, “The fact that the Dalai Lama, an internationally respected spiritual leader and ethicist, has spoken out against the production of cage eggs speaks volumes about the severity of the situation. Humane Society International has long supported natural living conditions for all farm animals, and consumer trends show that animal welfare has become a decisive factor influencing the food we eat.”