POLL-US PUBLIC SUPPORTS HUMANE TREATMENT FOR HENS
NEW YORK, Sept 19 (Reuters) - Most U.S. citizens oppose common but
controversial techniques used by egg producers to stimulate egg
production in starving hens, according to a poll released on Tuesday.
The practices received widespread publicity in August when McDonald's
Corp. said it would no longer buy eggs from producers who fail to
provide humane conditions for chickens.
The poll, conducted by Zogby America for Watkins Glen, New York-based
Farm Sanctuary, showed that 75.4 percent of respondents found it
unacceptable to starve hens for over a week in order to induce the
hens' bodies to "molt," stimulating the egg production cycle and
The telephone poll surveyed 1,204 adults across the country between
Sept. 15 and Monday.
Farm Sanctuary Director Gene Bauston said the poll results indicated
widespread support for McDonald's action, the first by a major U.S.
restaurant chain. Farm Sanctuary is an animal welfare group with more
than 75,000 members.
"The egg industry routinely subjects hens to inhumane living
conditions which offend public sentiments," Bauston said. "We believe
that McDonald's recent action sends an important and powerful message
to the egg industry."
He said most of the 300 million egg-laying hens in the United States
are confined in small wire cages that are lined up and stacked in
tiers in factory-like warehouses.
Hens are crowded so tightly they cannot stretch their wings. Bauston
said these conditions are outlawed in Europe.
According to the Zogby poll, 86.2 percent of respondents said it was
unacceptable to confine egg-laying hens in these types of restrictive
In late August McDonald's, which buys 2 billion eggs a year, said it
would no longer do business with farmers who withdraw food and water
rom the hens. The fast food chain also said it would not buy eggs
rom suppliers who trimmed the birds' beaks to keep them from hurting
7:57 09-19-00 Copyright 2000 Reuters Limited.