Raw Footage, Raw Pain (1994)





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Published on Sep 22, 2016

Raw Footage, Raw Pain is a spine-chilling video exposure of a modern U.S. egg farm. Based on a covert investigation in 1993 of Boulder Valley Poultry Farms, the main supplier of eggs for the largest supermarket chain in Colorado, this riveting documentary contains scenes of hens packed eight to a cage amid the incessant din of bird cries mixed with machinery; hens left to die in a temporarily closed wing of one of the battery houses; piles of dead chickens; chickens with open sores; decaying broken eggs; and mounds of uncovered manure. A stray hen walks over a pile of her dead sisters. Rats whistle through the empty cages in which claws and other body parts of former inmates lay rotting.

These facts speak for themselves; however, the extraordinary force of this film is in the master craftsmanship of Dave Crawford, the producer-narrator, whose deft blend of Plutonian images, informative commentary, and spectral music evokes the baleful essence of a modern egg factory. In one episode we watch a hen standing alone in the dark of a closed wing, surrounded by the decomposing bodies of other hens. At first she looks dead; then, pitifully, she moves. Blood drips from her mouth; her wings are featherless broken quills; her head is bowed as she stands over the spot where she will be found dead a few days later.

Crawford chronicles the apathy of the Colorado Department of Agriculture, which sent a staff veterinarian to "investigate" this farm that was claimed by another veterinarian to be managed by "one of the best people in the industry." The film elucidates the ethical and environmental atrocity of intensive egg production, and what to do about it.

Reviewed by Karen Davis

Also contains news coverage and additional footage.


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