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May 19, 2009

The HSUS Urges Denny's Shareholders to Vote for Higher Animal Welfare Standards

The Humane Society of the United States

At Denny's annual shareholder meeting tomorrow, a Humane Society of the United States representative will urge shareholders to approve its resolution urging the restaurant chain to decrease its use of eggs from caged hens.

As The HSUS states in its shareholder resolution, nearly all of Denny's eggs come from hens confined in battery cages — barren enclosures so tiny, the birds can't even spread their wings. The HSUS' shareholder resolution simply asks the Spartanburg-based chain, which has more than 1,500 locations nationwide, to commit to using ten percent cage-free eggs.

Although Denny's sought to exclude The HSUS' shareholder resolution from its proxy by filing a challenge with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, lawyers for The HSUS challenged the proposed exclusion. In March, the SEC ruled against Denny's, giving shareholders the right to vote on this animal welfare issue.

"Denny's should be doing more to reduce needless suffering of the animals who are laying eggs for the company," stated Josh Balk, outreach director for The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "It's time for Denny's to take a meaningful and practical step in the right direction by switching ten percent of its eggs to cage-free."

Facts:

  • In a landslide November vote, Californians approved the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act — a new law making it a criminal offense (with a phase-out period) to confine hens in battery cages, pigs in gestation crates and calves in veal crates. California is the top agricultural state and home to more than 400 Denny's locations.
  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren battery cages so small, they can't even spread their wings. Each bird has less space than a sheet of paper her entire life.
  • Cage-free hens generally have two to three times more space per bird than caged hens. Cage-free hens may not be able to go outside and may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their wings and lay their eggs in nests — all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into battery cages.

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 28. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at humanesociety.org.
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