The agriculture industry faces a lot of controversy. Some animal rights groups actively spread hate and fear to often unknowledgeable consumers, and depict animal agriculture in a bad light.
We are farmers. We care about our animals. We give them the best life possible. We are not that which they wrongly depict us to be.
But, sometimes, they are not wrong. There are, occasionally, some bad eggs.
Recently, a video surfaced allegedly depicting the mishandling of hens at an egg farm in Oklahoma. This was not the first purported offense documented at this facility. The video depicts mortality handling and euthanasia practices that are inconsistent with UEP welfare program standards. They have previously been cited for contamination of pasture with waste.
This farm is UEP welfare audited and certified. Any practice that deviates from the standard expectations devalues the certification program. But more so, it devalues the work and care that goes into farming all across the country.
Throughout the year, we are burdened with bird losses due to any number of factors. But flock after flock we must make the conscious decision to cull those that are ill or struggling. We owe it to our birds, to ourselves, and to our neighbors and fellow farmers to set a good example of what it means to be a farmer. Be skilled and compassionate. Be quick and decisive. Be thorough and transparent.
Always train new employees on humane and acceptable euthanasia practices, and then hold them accountable every day. Report abuse or neglect when it happens. Document everything and keep strict records. And always be an advocate for responsible farming. We are the face of our industry, and will not let a few bad eggs define us.
Learn more about UEP guidelines here.