A video exposé shared by animal rights charity PETA shows grim conditions on three egg farms in British Columbia - prompting an investigation.
The footage, taken inside facilities in Fraser Valley, was captured by a number of undercover investigators including Jeff Rigear - who has worked in farms and slaughterhouses across Canada.
He told CTV News: "We know that animals are suffering immeasurably. This is an industry that survives by keeping people in the dark. In order for us to have a meaningful discourse on this issue, the public needs to see what's happening on industrial farms."
Undercover footage from the farms
Discussing the grim footage shown in the video, PETA says: "The footage shows hens stuck in mounds of feces teeming with maggots and left for dead, forced to live inside cramped wire cages next to the rotting corpses of their dead cagemates, and left virtually featherless with exposed quills - likely because of the stress of severe crowding and neglect."
PETA Director of Evidence Analysis, Daniel Paden, added: "Dying by drowning in a manure pit isn't how most people picture hens on an egg farm. PETA wants shoppers to consider the gentle birds entombed in feces and caged with rotting corpses and leave eggs on the supermarket shelf."
The charity says animals were packed so tightly into cages they couldn't spread their wings. Some had inflamed feet from standing on wire flooring without any relief. Chickens were forced to urinate and defecate on the ones below, and as a result, ammonia fumes caused by the accumulation of excrement irritated the hens' lungs and burned their skin.
BC Egg Marketing Board Executive Director Katie Lowe said: "We expect more of our producers than what we saw in the video and we hold them to high standards."
The farms on the video are now being inspected, and have undergone a full animal care audit and third-party audit.
Lowe added: "We want to make sure we get them back into compliance as soon as possible."