Tell United Egg Producers To Practice What They Preach:
Stop Starving Hens! Stop Forced Molting!
"[T]here is no excuse for any Producer not providing feed for their animals." United Egg Producers
In response to the Cypress Egg Farms crisis in March, United Egg Producers (UEP), the U.S. egg industry's national trade association, faxed a statement to United Poultry Concerns stating that "United Egg Producers is saddened and greatly concerned about those birds owned by Cypress Foods in Georgia and Florida and that they are not receiving feed. This is unacceptable."
UEP continued, "While the egg industry has suffered through 3 years of financial losses, still there is no excuse for any Producer not providing feed for their animals. These birds must not suffer any further."
Despite this rousing declaration, United Egg Producers continues to stall on eliminating the U.S. egg industry's practice of starving hens for 4 to 21 days for profit. White leghorn hens are typically starved for 10 to 14 days while brown hens may be starved for up to 3 full weeks in order to force the birds temporarily out of egg production and then use the survivors for another egg laying cycle-an inhumane practice that is illegal in Europe. At its January meeting (reported in Egg Industry, February 2002), UEP Senior Vice President Gene Gregory said, "research into the molting process without feed withdrawal needs more time." (No, Gene, it doesn't. This research has been going on for years.)
Before the meeting, UEP met with two other major trade associations, Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants, to discuss the increasing "pressure from the animal welfare activists" to stop forced molting and other cruel egg industry practices. According to Egg Industry magazine (Dec. 2001), UEP complained that "its budget is being strained as more animal welfare advocates are becoming involved in laying hen issues."
United Egg Producers (UEP) is now on record as officially holding that "there is no excuse for any Producer not providing food for their animals." Please contact UEP and demand that they therefore stop forced molting, the cruel starvation practice that causes liver, intestinal, muscle, and bone damage in hens, impairs the hens' immune systems making them more susceptible to Salmonella enteritidis infections, doubles the hens' mortality each week of the forced molt, and causes many hens to choke to death when they try to eat after 12 or more days of total food deprivation.
Remind UEP that at the Cypress Egg Farm in Florida, 30,000 of 200,000 birds starved after their food was cut off for 12 days, and 170,000 hens were reported by Florida officials as being in such bad condition that they were being systematically destroyed--yet 12 days of no food for hens is standard U.S. egg industry practice. It's time for U.S. egg producers to stop their deliberate starvation of millions of helpless hens each year while professing "sadness" and outrage over the starvation of the Cypress hens, simply because in that case the news media saw and reported on the effects of a procedure that is done all the time behind closed doors.
Albert E. Pope, President
Gene Gregory, Senior Vice President
United Egg Producers
1303 Hightower Trail, Suite 200
Atlanta, GA 30350
Food Marketing Institute and the National Council of Chain Restaurants represent major U.S. food corporations-supermarkets and restaurants. Like United Egg Producers, these are trade associations, which means that while they can't force their member companies to do anything, they can urge their member companies-Kroger, Safeway, Burger King, KFC, etc.--to impose basic animal welfare standards on the companies' suppliers of eggs and other animal products, and inform their member companies of the growing public demand for improved welfare standards for birds and other animals raised and slaughtered for these companies. Tell them, and United Egg Producers, that you care very much about farmed animal welfare and that you want to see immediate steps taken to eliminate:
Contact: United Egg Producers (above) and also:
- Debeaking of chickens and turkeys
- Debilling of ducks
- Forced molting of hens
- Battery cages for hens
Tim Hammonds, President, CEO
Food Marketing Institute
655 15th Street, NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
Terrie Dort, President
National Council of Chain Restaurants
325 7th Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington, DC 20004
*NOTE: ALWAYS REQUEST A WRITTEN REPLY*
Please Contact the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
The AVMA is again reviewing its position statement on forced molting. While the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association opposes forced molting by food deprivation, and the practice is banned in Europe and the UK, and McDonald's, Burger King, and Wendy's now ban forced molting in their new regulations for their egg suppliers, the AVMA continues to find the practice "acceptable."
What Can I Do:
Please write a letter to Bruce Little, DVM, Executive Director, AVMA, 1931 N. Meacham Rd. Suite 100, Schaumburg, IL 60173-4360, and urge that the AVMA revise its position on forced molting from "acceptance" to opposition. Request a written reply.