What is Forced Molting?
The practice of starving hens for profit is known as forced-molting. Molting literally refers to the replacement of old feathers by new ones. In
nature, birds replace all their feathers in the course of a year to maintain good plumage at all times. A natural molt often happens at the onset of
winter, when nature discourages the hatching of chicks. The hen stops laying eggs and concentrates her energies on staying warm and growing
The egg industry exploits this natural process by forcing an entire flock to molt simultaneously. This is done to manipulate the marketplace and
to pump a few hundred more eggs out of exhausted hens when it is deemed cheaper to "recycle" them rather than immediately slaughter them
after a year of relentless egg- laying on a calcium-deficient diet.
To trigger the physiological shock of the forced molt, a University of California poultry researcher (Donald Bell) recommends the removal of
all food for no less than five days and as long as fourteen days. Survivors may be force-molted two or three times, based on economics. At
any given time over 6 million hens in the U.S. are being systematically starved in their cages, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dr. Peter Dun, an animal scientist from Scotland, said hens are force molted in the United States "until their combs turn blue."
More information on forced molting:
Help UPC's Ongoing Campaign to Stop Forced Molting of Laying Hens:
4/9/2002: Action Alert - Tell UEP To Practice What They Preach:Stop Starving Hens!
Spring 2001: Support Illinois Bill to Ban Forced Molting
llinois House Bill 0756, The Safe Egg and Laying Hen Protection Act, would ban the forced molting of hens used for egg production.
Summer 2000: California Bill To Ban Forced Molting: Update
Keep the pressure on United Egg Producers and contact your local supermarkets.
Winter 99: The Incredible IN-EDIBLE Egg
Tell The Today Show to stop promoting the Incredible In-Edible Egg. The majority of eggs come from suffering,
sick, debeaked hens imprisoned in filthy wire cages and subjected to deliberate starvation.
Fall 99: UPC CAMPAIGN TO BAN STARVATION OF HENS
Here is yet another opportunity to make your voice heard. The President's Council on Food Safety is seeking public input
on ways to reduce foodborne illness in the nation's food supply. There is no deadline, but don't wait!
Click above link for Docket numbers and addresses to write to.
AVMA Betrays Veterinarian's Oath
Tell the AVMA to oppose the withholding of food from hens for any length of time. Tell the association to live up to its oath
to protect public and animal health and relieve animal suffering.
Ask Your Local Newspaper to Print
"Starving Hens For Profit Has Got to Stop"
Keep Forced Molting Out of Canada
U.S. Egg Industry
DEMAND A BAN. In 1994, Joy Mench, a poultry researcher, warned a meeting of the Egg Association of
America that "in terms of public sentiment," the U.S. industry needs to look at forced molting. She noted that "in
Europe, feed restriction is limited to one day because of stress to the birds."
Stop purchasing poultry and eggs, including processed foods that include poultry and egg
ingredients--"chicken broth," egg whites, and other hen horrors. Forced molting is not
confined to battery hens. So-called "free-range" hens and breeder fowl are subjected to the
practice, as well. Wash your hands of eggs, egg whites, and poultry products.
Previous News and Alerts on Forced Molting: