Activist Groups Continue to Attack Egg Farmers

November 17, 2010- Animal care and food safety are the top priority for farmers and ranchers in the United States.  They dedicate their lives to the health and well-being of their animals to ensure that the food they produce for the public- and their own families- is wholesome and safe to consume.


Activist groups such as the Humane Society of the United States have learned the art – and financial benefit – of using pictures and videos to garner public sympathy and support while unfairly attacking farmers and business involved in food production. These extremists attempt to use to emotional images and scare tactics to discourage Americans from eating meat, milk and eggs because they do not believe that we have that right.

It’s important not to forget the farmer’s side of the story when presented with emotionally charged presentations by activist groups that stand to benefit from these attacks.

Distributing highly edited videos – generally obtained using illicit tactics – via the Internet has proven to be a highly effective way for activist organizations to raise money and gain support for ballot initiative campaigns. The most recent video, allegedly filmed at a Texas egg farm, both misrepresents the true day-to-day care given to egg laying hens across the U.S. and the wholesomeness of the eggs produced.

HSUS reports that its undercover activist worked for nearly one month at the farm to obtain the images used. Did this person share any information about the alleged mistreatment with farm owners or managers before broadcasting the video during today’s Washington, D.C. press conference? A true animal welfare advocate would act quickly and cooperatively with farm operators to correct any problems- but too often, animal activist organizations wait weeks, if not
months, before “going public” with edited footage at the most politically-opportune time.

According to the United Egg Producers, the undercover activist employed at the Texas egg farm was required to sign the Certified Code of Conduct for Poultry Caretakers (page 16), which requires that “all incidents of potential animal abuse, neglect, or cruelty or possible contamination should be reported immediately”. It is apparent that this person chose to ignore the signed agreement and did not share any concerns with farm managers.

The Animal Agriculture Alliance condemns all animal abuse – whether on farms, in processing plants or in the home. As a diverse coalition working to promote animal agriculture’s commitment to animal care, we have long promoted implementation of animal care programs developed by the national farm and ranch organizations in conjunction with animal care specialists and veterinarians.

Food safety is also very important to America’s farmers and ranchers. The activist claim that traditional egg production is unsafe is simply untrue. In fact, modern farms have helped to reduce the risk of food borne illness- scientists estimate that on average, just one of 20,000 eggs in the U.S. might contain Salmonella bacteria. Proper food handling and preparation further reduces this risk.

Today, more than 96 percent of American consumers and most food service businesses rely on traditionally-produced eggs. Multiple studies have found traditional egg production to be both safe and beneficial:

  • In 2009, a study by Sweden’s National Veterinary Institute showed that free-range and
    barn-reared birds were more prone to cannibalism and higher levels of ammonia and
    bacteria than hens kept in cages.
  • A study from Belgium’s Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research found that
    eggshell bacterial contamination was “significantly higher” for eggs from cage free
    systems when compared with eggs from traditional production practices.
  • A Dutch study published in Poultry Science in 2005 found that cage-free flocks housed
    in “deep litter” had a higher risk for Salmonella than traditional flocks.

Today, only two percent of our population produces food for the remaining 98 percent. Trusting videos produced by groups that oppose the use of animals for any purpose is unfair to the hardworking farmers, ranchers and others who dedicate their lives to producing food for the rest of us.

Don’t just take our word for it – or that of animal rights activist groups. Get to know your local farmers and ranchers directly and ask them about their commitment to animal care and to providing safe, wholesome food for you and your family.

About the Alliance:
The Animal Agriculture Alliance, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, is a broad-based coalition of individual farmers, ranchers, producer organizations, suppliers, packer-processors, scientists, veterinarians, and retailers. The Alliance’s mission is to communicate the important role of animal agriculture to our nation’s economy, productivity, vitality, and security. The Alliance shows how animal well-being is central to producing safe, high-quality, affordable food and other products essential to our daily lives.

Category: Press Releases

Tag: Eggs, Humane Society of the United States,