September 17, 2009
We Rebut IHOP's Cracked Defense of Battery-Cage Cruelty
Update Dec. 14, 2009: We're pleased to give you the promising news that IHOP has agreed to begin testing the use of cage-free eggs, and, if successful, intends to switch millions of eggs from battery to cage-free within the next few months. The HSUS is cautiously optimistic about this, and has decided to place a moratorium on the campaign while IHOP begins the transition.
IHOP will give us an update at the latest by March 15th; at that time, we'll determine whether to continue or end the campaign.
Thank you all for your support throughout the campaign. This progress wouldn't be possible without your efforts! We'll keep you updated.
In response to The HSUS' campaign exposing IHOP for animal cruelty within its supply chain, IHOP issued the following statement:
"It's important to state clearly that we are against cruel treatment of animals used in the production of food for our restaurants. Our supplier standards go beyond what is required by law to ensure the dignified, humane treatment of animals used to produce the food we serve."
It's easy for IHOP to state that it goes beyond what's required by law, as there are virtually no animal welfare laws regulating routine on-farm agribusiness practices.
In reality, unlike many other national restaurant chains, every single egg IHOP uses comes from a hen confined in a barren wire cage so small, she can't even spread her wings. These hens have less space than a sheet of paper on which to live their entire lives. IHOP's egg producer follows "United Egg Producers [UEP] Certified" standard, which permits hens to be intensively confined in this archaic manner. This standard for battery-cage egg production is illegal throughout the European Union and in IHOP's home state of California (effective 2015).
IHOP also doesn't mention that the UEP has a sordid history of consumer fraud and animal cruelty. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ruled in 2003 (and upheld in 2004) that the UEP was misleading consumers about animal welfare—here's a New York Times article about the UEP's problems with the BBB and the Federal Trade Commission.
Even more, 17 attorneys general (including California's attorney general) asserted that the UEP was falsely advertising animal welfare claims. The UEP paid $100,000 to settle that dispute (here's an article about this case). Also, the UEP is the defendant in 20 consolidated class action lawsuits related to illegal price fixing (here's one of many articles). Clearly, the UEP couldn't be less credible regarding animal welfare or public trust, and IHOP shouldn't hide behind its shameful standard.
Instead of issuing canned statements, IHOP should start moving away from battery cage eggs as many of its competitors are already doing. Ask the company to do the right thing.