Winter 2002-03 Poultry Press Action Alert
Eggs: Ugly Side Up

"'The entire Western world is becoming educated about how the modern egg industry is treating its birds-which is badly,' said Karen Davis, head of Virginia-based watchdog group United Poultry Concerns." -Todd Hartman, "A Fix in the Henhouse," Rocky Mountain News (Colorado), October 16, 2002.

A Tad More Cage Space

Under pressure from animal rights advocates, some members of United Egg Producers (UEP) are responding to UEP's voluntary plan to give battery-caged hens a tad more space-essentially by putting one less hen in each tiny cage. The new standard will increase space per bird to 67 square inches for white leghorn hens and 86 square inches for brown hens (who are slightly larger birds) by 2008. 48 to 54 square inches per hen has been the standard practice for decades. UEP's standards, to be phased in over a 6 year period, are weaker than McDonald's' standards requiring the company's suppliers to provide 72 square inches per caged white hen and a few extra inches for brown hens.

UEP Welfare Seal: "Animal Care Certified."

UEP has developed a "welfare seal" for egg cartons. This is a ruse. Under UEP's new "Animal Care Certified" Seal, hens may still be:

  • Warehoused in stacks of barren wire cages with no room to spread their wings, take a step, sit or stand normally or comfortably.

  • Force molted by food deprivation. UEP merely recommends that producers who remove all food from hens for a week or 2 or 3 not let their weight drop below 70 percent. In other words, an "Animal Care Certified" producer may still force the hen to lose nearly a third of her body weight-to be starved from about 3 pounds down to 1 pound.

  • Debeaked or "beak trimmed" with a burning guillotine blade that slices through the beak's sensitive nerve endings.
Camera Doesn't Lie

As reported in The New York Times, National Page, December 4, 2002, the Washington DC-based animal advocacy organization Compassion Over Killing (COK) conducted an undercover investigation from August to November 2002 of a battery-hen complex near Baltimore, Md. At Red Bird Egg Farms, investigators documented "unimaginably cruel conditions" including:

  • Cages with up to 11 hens stuffed inside

  • Feathers rubbed away by wire and other hens.

  • Swollen eyes, infected skin, and shattered wings entangled in cage wire.

According to COK, Red Bird Egg Farms is "the norm in the egg industry." Similar investigations at major egg farms in Minnesota, Ohio, New Jersey, Colorado, and Maryland have all uncovered the same conditions. For details of COK's investigation and rescue, go to www.cok.net.

WHAT CAN I DO?
  • Please Omit Eggs and Egg Products From Your Diet, including so-called "substitutes" like Egg Beaters which are made of egg whites. All products with egg ingredients come from battery-caged hens. Egg whites instead of whole eggs actually double the number of hens. So-called "uncaged," "free range," and "organic" eggs are still produced by hens who are overcrowded, typically debeaked, possibly force molted, and brutally slaughtered often after being trucked hundreds or thousands of miles with internal injuries, broken bones, and no food or water. They travel covered in egg slime because, though crushed together in crates, many hens continue to lay eggs during transport. Still young, they go to poultry markets, poultry auctions, renderers, and landfills. In all systems, newborn male chicks, slow hatching chicks, and defective female chicks are ground up alive or thrown in trashcans or landfills to suffocate. A North Carolina family farmer told UPC in October that even after you pour dirt over the chicks and run over them with a truck, "you can still hear them peeping under the dirt."

  • Urge baking companies to include vegan alternatives to eggs in their package instructions and recipes. For example, 2 Tbsp to cup of applesauce, apple butter, or other fruit purees can substitute for 1 egg. Other options are 1 mashed banana for 1 egg; 2 Tbsp soft tofu, potato starch, or cornstarch for 1 egg; a little extra yeast or baking soda for lightness; a little extra vegetable oil for moisture. In most cases, you can make your suggestions on the company's website. Always politely request a reply.
CompanyMailing AddressPhone/Fax
Aunt Jemima
www.auntjemima.com
Robert Morrison, CEO
The Quaker Company
PO Box 049003
Chicago, IL 60604

800-407-2247
Fax: 800-224-1048
Betty Crocker
www.bettycrocker.com
Steve Sanger, CEO
General Mills, Inc.
PO Box 1113
Minneapolis, MN 55440

800-446-1896
Fax: 763-764-8330
Duncan Hines
www.duncanhines.com
Dale Morrison, CEO
Aurora Foods, Inc.
11432 Lackland Road
St. Louis, MO 63146

800-750-8358
No Fax:
Jiffy
www.jiffymix.com
Howard Holmes, CEO
Chelsea Milling Company
PO Box 460
Chelsea, MI 48118

734-475-1361
Fax: 734-475-4630
Krusteaz
www.krusteaz.com
Ron Wise, CEO
Continental Mills
PO Box 88176
Seattle, WA 98138-2176

800-426-0955
Fax: 253-395-7591
Pillsbury
www.pillsburybaking.com
International Multifood Corp.
Consumer Relations
PO Box 580740
Minneapolis, MN 55458-0740

800-767-4466
No Fax
Topco
www.topco.com
Ian Grossman, Sr. Vice President
Topco Association Inc.
7711 Gross Point Road
Skokie, IL 60077

888-423-0139
Fax: 847-676-5694
ConsumerServices@Topco.com
Winter 2002-03 Poultry Press NEXT