DXE, Again!

It’s tiresome, but every few months we have to write about DXE, an animal liberation organization who is against farming and doesn’t believe farm animals should be raised for any reason, like food or clothing (wool). That’s because every few months, they produce a fundraising video of them breaking into a farm in the middle of the night using dishonest editing to falsify their story.

They don’t attack factory farms. They attack farmers who are working to give farm animals more natural lives. And, they attack us, a nonprofit organization working to improve the lives of farm animals.

Of course, if a farm is questioned in any way, we reassure consumers by conducting unannounced inspections to make sure the farm is in compliance with our Animal Care Standards. You can scroll to the end of this blog to read the surprise inspection of the farm in question. This inspection is in addition to the inspection each farm receives annually.

DXE has produced videos where they claimed they were on a Certified Humane® farm when, in fact, they were not, which is also disingenuous.

Here’s what we know about DXE and their videos.

  • DXE uses the same “break-in” clips from video to video. They try to make the footage appear as if it’s all from one farm when in fact the video shows different farms and different birds. For example, the bird in the most recent video starts out as a white bird who grows up to be red chicken. You don’t have to be much of an expert on chickens to see these deceptive tactics.
  • Their videos show a lack of understanding for basic animal husbandry. Each video shows poop on the floor of a barn as if chickens live in constant filth. Anyone who has ever worked at an animal shelter knows if you were to break into a shelter in the middle of the might there would be poop on the floor of the dog kennels and in the puppy cages. Puppies even get poop on their paws and fur because there is no staff around in the middle of the night to clean it up before they step in it. The same holds true for chickens in barns, so pointing to poop during a night raid only proves one thing: chickens poop at night.
  • They don’t understand basic farm animal behavior. In the most recent video, they rescue a chicken being picked on by other chickens. This is not the result of poor husbandry; this is the result of animal behavior. There is a reason for the phrase “pecking order,” as chickens sometimes will and do pick on each other. Farmers check on their birds every day, since birds, like most animals, tend to gang up on a weaker animal and do harm to another animal almost overnight. The fact that this activist group only finds and rescues “one bird” during their break-ins is a testament to the farmer’s ability monitor his or her flock of birds.
  • Their break-ins endanger farm animals. Every time DXE breaks into a barn, they put the entire flock at risk. Farmers have protocols in place to ensure their chickens don’t get bird flu or other diseases from the outside world – diseases that could decimate an entire flock or impact consumers by getting into our nation’s food supply. Last year, DXE broke into a barn and found one hen-pecked bird to rescue. Sadly, the exposure from these outsiders resulted in the death of the rest of the chickens in the barn.

If you don’t believe farm animals should be raised for food, there is nothing we can say or do to convince you otherwise. But if you are part of the 95% of the U.S. population that eats meat, we want you to know that as a nonprofit organization, it’s our mission to help farm animals raised for food live more natural lives.

Here is the farm inspection report about the most recent farm in question. Our inspectors are all Ph.D.’s or DVM’s who are experts in their field of farm animal welfare and provide us with third-party reporting on Certified Humane® farms.

Farm Inspection Report

The scope of this inspection was to determine the welfare and living conditions of Certified Humane hens at the Pepper Ranch location of Rainbow Farms. The managers were sure that House #2 had been broken into, but were unsure if the other two houses had also been compromised. Therefore, all three houses were inspected. The inspection was performed on February 17th, 2017.

House 1: This house had 47 week old ISA Brown hens. All birds observed were well-feathered and alert. The litter was in great condition, and hens were observed dust-bathing and forging. Hens were observed utilizing all parts of the housing system. House records indicated low mortality except for a piling incident, which was explained by a thunderstorm. The thunder scared the birds and they panicked, causing a piling scenario.

House 2: This house had 70 week old ISA Brown hens. All birds observed were alert and dust-bathing and foraging. Litter was in good condition. Hens had variable feather cover, ranging from fully feathered to moderate feather loss. No hens observed showed severe feather loss. Most of the hens had evidence of pin feathers, indicating new feather growth and that the birds were molting.

House 3: This house had 82 week old ISA Brown hens, close to being depopulated. Again, litter was in good condition with hens observed dust-bathing and foraging. Hens had variable feather coverage, slightly worse than in House 2, but appropriate for their age. Pin feathers were observed on some of these hens as well, and there were a small number of hens that were fully feathered.

No wounds were observed on any hens from any houses. No sick or lethargic hens were observed at the time of the inspection. When first entering all houses, hens appeared crowded at the front of the pens. When looking down the houses, open space could be observed in the aviary systems as well as the litter areas. When walking the litter areas, hens had great freedom of movement, were inquisitive toward the inspector, and there was plenty of open space for the hens.

Overall, the hens in all three houses at this Ranch were in good condition, with feather coverage appropriate for their ages. Litter was in good condition, and hens had freedom of movement. Mortality in all houses was generally low, based on house records.