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September 16, 2009

The HSUS Launches National Campaign Exposing IHOP's Animal Cruelty

The Humane Society of the United States

Today, The Humane Society of the United States is launching a national campaign publicly urging DineEquity, Inc. — which owns and operates the IHOP chain of restaurants—to start switching some of its eggs to cage-free — a modest step that many of the Glendale, Calif.-based company's competitors have already taken.

All of the hens who lay eggs for IHOP are confined in "battery cages" — wire enclosures so small, each bird has less space than a sheet of paper on which to spend her entire life. The birds can't even spread their wings.

The campaign launch follows more than two years of behind-the-scenes discussions with IHOP and the new release of an undercover investigation by the organization Compassion Over Killing, revealing shocking abuses at IHOP's primary egg supplier, Michael Foods. The exposé reveals hens forced to live in cages with the decomposing corpses of their cage-mates, sick and injured hens, and severe food safety concerns. This undercover footage mirrors a 2006 HSUS investigation of Michael Foods.

Major restaurant chains like Denny's, Burger King, Wendy's, Quiznos, Red Robin, Hardee's and Carl's Jr. have already started using some cage-free eggs, but IHOP has failed to follow their lead. Now, The HSUS is urging the public — including its 11 million supporters — to ask IHOP to catch up with its competitors on this important animal welfare issue.

In November 2008, in IHOP's home state of California, nearly two-thirds of voters passed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act, which bans battery cages throughout the state (with a phase-out).

"Given consumers' overwhelming opposition to the mistreatment of farm animals and the growing corporate movement toward including animal welfare as part of a broader commitment to corporate social responsibility, there's simply no reason for IHOP to continue to rely exclusively on inhumane battery cage confinement systems," stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "It's time for IHOP to follow the lead of its competitors and start switching to cage-free eggs."

Poultry welfare expert Ian Duncan, Ph.D., states that "an overwhelming abundance of scientific evidence has shown that IHOP's policy to exclusively purchase eggs from hens confined in battery cage facilities will lead to continued avoidable suffering of thousands of animals within IHOP's direct supply chain."

For more information on The HSUS' campaign, visit HumaneSociety.org/ihop.

Facts:

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren battery cages so cramped, they can't even spread their wings. Each bird has less space than a sheet of paper her entire life. Scientific research confirms the welfare problems with battery cages.
  • 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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