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June 24, 2009

The HSUS Urges Kroger Shareholders to Vote for Higher Animal Welfare Standards

The Humane Society of the United States

At Kroger's annual meeting tomorrow, a Humane Society of the United States representative will urge shareholders to approve its resolution urging the grocery chain to decrease its use of eggs from hens crammed into battery cages — barren enclosures so tiny, the birds can't even spread their wings.

As The HSUS points out in its resolution — which simply asks the chain to commit to increasing the percentage of cage-free eggs it offers — Kroger is lagging behind its competitors and public opposition to battery cages.

Safeway and Harris Teeter are doubling the number of cage-free eggs they carry. Winn-Dixie is committed to increasing the amount of cage-free eggs it sells. Costco already sells eleven percent of its eggs from cage-free hens. Trader Joe's has converted all its private-label eggs to cage-free, and Whole Foods Market only sells cage-free eggs.

Karla Koebernick, outreach manager for The HSUS' factory farming campaign, will speak at the meeting. She states, "Given the snowballing corporate and public opposition to cruel battery cages, it's time for Kroger to make a concrete commitment to moving away from selling eggs from caged hens."

Kroger is attempting to hide behind the United Egg Producers standards — which allow producers to confine birds in cages so small they can't spread their wings. The United Egg Producers was ruled to be engaging in misleading advertising related to animal welfare by the Better Business Bureau and was forced to pay $100,000 to settle false advertising charges by 17 attorneys general, including Ohio's.

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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