Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Mercy for Animals Investigates Egg Production: Please Avoid Eggs this Easter Season

Cheap eggs and poor animal welfare. The connection is irrefutable, yet with the economy suffering, people are cutting corners everywhere, including at the grocery store, and eggs produced by battery caged hens, the cheapest option available, are the norm.

That is why this new Mercy For Animals undercover investigation comes at a crucial time. Early this year, the group had hidden cameras in Quality Egg of New England in Turner, Maine, the largest egg factory farm in New England.

What did they find?
*Rotting carcasses in cages with live hens still laying eggs.
*Employees killing birds by grabbing their necks and swinging them around in circles; and throwing live birds into trash cans, leaving them to be slowly crushed under the weight of other birds' corpses and unable to access food or water.
*Hens confined four to six in wire cages so small they could not stretch their wings, move freely or engage in other basic behaviors.
*Birds trapped in the wire of their cages or under the feeding trays with no access to food or water, some with body parts, including their faces, pressed against moving conveyor belts.

Among other horrors. Here is the video:

Some updates I received via e-mail:
*Officials with the state police and Maine Department of Agriculture executed a court ordered search warrant, raiding the Turner facility seeking additional evidence of animal cruelty. Officials removed hens and documented evidence of mistreatment, which is being reviewed. The case is in the hands of the Franklin County District Attorney's office.
*Eggland's Best said it would immediately end its supplier relationship with the facility.
*Radlo Foods, the distributor of eggs from the factory farm targeted by MFA's investigation, also terminated its relationship, which means that eggs from the facility will no longer be found at Walmart, Stop & Shop, Hannaford, or Shaw's. Radlo Foods also said that it would become the first national egg producer to commit to ending its confinement of hens in battery cages, following the public release of MFA's undercover findings.

Easter season is here. Please educate people about battery caged eggs and persuade them to ditch the cruel tradition of coloring eggs. Eggs were viewed as symbols of new life and fertility through the ages, and it is believed that for this reason many ancient cultures, among them the Ancient Egyptians, Persians, and Romans, used eggs during their spring festivals, according to TheHolidaySpot. Yet we have corrupted this image of new life beyond our worst imagination, all over greed, and the desire to save a few pennies.

This Easter season, instead of buying eggs, I will be making a donation to Mercy for Animals.

Learn more about the investigation, click here.

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