Of all the practices that convey the casual cruelty and industrialization of the modern livestock industry, cutting the beaks off young chicks with a hot knife machine has to be one of the most revelatory.

Whenever people ask my why they can’t eat eggs from “happy chickens,” de-beaking (which is used on cage-free, organic, free-range, you name it, chickens) is one of the reasons I give. Tossing newborn male chicks alive into a grinder, because they have no value in the egg industry, is another.

You don’t need to watch much of this to get the idea.

Here’s a fuller explanation:

The debeaking machine depicted in this video is exactly the same as those used on U.S. farms, but because the video was made as a marketing demo by a company that sells the machines, it provides a fuller picture of what actually happens to hens during the debeaking process. Debeaking, also known euphemistically as “beak trimming,” is a painful procedure in which ½ to ⅔ of each bird’s sensitive beak is seared off with a hot blade, without anesthetic. While farmers will often dismiss the practice as harmless by comparing it to clipping our own fingernails, chickens’ beaks are the avian equivalent not of human fingernails, but fingertips— loaded with blood vessels, pain receptors, and specialized sensory nerves that facilitate food detection in the wild. Debeaking is so painful for these birds that some die of shock on the spot; others die of starvation or dehydration because using their beaks is so excruciating, or their mutilations are so disfiguring that they cannot properly grasp and swallow food.

The more you know….

9 thoughts on “De-Beaking”

  1. Thanks for posting this Tim. This is one of the many appalling practices that needs to be stopped in the barbaric intensive battery farming methods used the world over!

  2. Fully aware of this grotesque procedure,all our chickens we get from Animal Liberation rescues,all have been debeaked and are the sorriest little treasures you could see,we have to make a soft porridge like food to get them gradually used to being a chicken again.They have no idea what grass is,stand in the rain with no idea what it is…but when they come see them picking through the vegetable gardens for snails,bugs and bits of fresh veggies then sunbathing and dirt bathing it is a pure joy.Once we are safely set up where we now are we will rescue more girls and give them the life they are entitled to not lucky to have! I am always ashamed to be a human and I always will be,the older I get the less I understand 😦

  3. This is barbaric and needs to be STOPPED! We do manually do this for commercial purpose. Although I love raising chickens using organic methods.

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