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Video of euthanized hens had no connection to COVID-19

Mississauga – On January 13th a video was recorded at an egg farm in Ontario.  It was first posted on TikTok and shared on a number of other platforms.  The video showed hens that had already been humanely euthanized and were being prepared for transport to a composting facility.

This is one of several approved industry practices followed on some layer farms across Canada, is approved by veterinarians and complies with government regulations.  

These were not hens produced for the chicken market.  These older, end-of lay hens were not intended for human consumption and therefore did not affect the food supply. 

As often happens in social media, inaccurate comments swirled around the postings based on political views about COVID-19, a lack of understanding about farming and our food systems.  

This situation had nothing to do with COVID-19, in spite of the personal and political views expressed by the individual that shot the video. In this case, the hens were euthanized on farm, using approved methods, and composted for fertilizer.

Ontario farmers are committed to caring for their laying hens throughout their entire life, including end-of-life. The reality is that all livestock, including hens, are euthanized humanely at end-of-life. 

Laying hens typically begin laying eggs around 19 weeks of age and do so for one year. At the end of the laying cycle the hens are used for one of three beneficial purposes:

  1. They are processed into poultry products.
  2. They are processed for use in pet food.
  3. They are composted and returned to the soil to contribute valuable nitrogen and phosphorus as fertilizer.

Prior to being processed into human or animal food products, the hens are rendered unconscious and humanely euthanized. Those that will be composted for fertilizer are also humanely euthanized on farm by trained professionals using methods approved by poultry veterinarians and according to government regulations.

Source : Egg Farmers of Ontario

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