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April 15, 2010

Iowa Retailer Urged to Revamp Purchasing Practices In Light of Latest Egg Industry Exposé

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States, sent a letter to Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's General Stores urging the company to reconsider its insistence on exclusively selling eggs from birds confined in tiny cages. Last week, The HSUS revealed severe animal welfare and food safety concerns documented through undercover investigations at Rose Acre Farms—Casey's sole egg supplier.

Casey's—which has nearly 1,500 stores throughout the Midwest and annual sales of $4.6 billion—sells about one million eggs per year, all of which come from Rose Acre Farms' battery cage confinement facilities.

"The exposé uncovered Rose Acre employees roughly handling birds, forcing animals to live in cages with the mummified carcasses of dead birds, and overseeing hens with prolapsed uteruses (among other problems)," writes Pacelle in a letter to Bob Myers, president and CEO of Casey's. Pacelle continues: "Based on this exposé of your sole egg supplier, I hope we can discuss the possibility of Casey's reconsidering its decision not to switch to cage-free eggs. In fact, numerous major companies – including Wal-Mart, Costco, Hellmann's and Burger King – have made progress in this area already."

HSUS staff has been in communication with Casey's executives since July 2009 regarding the company's exclusive use of eggs from caged hens.

A copy of Pacelle's letter is available upon request.

Facts:

  • In a landslide 2008 vote, nearly 64 percent of California voters passed Prop 2, outlawing cage confinement of egg-laying hens statewide (with a phase-out). Michigan passed a similar law in 2009.
  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in barren cages so small, they can't even spread their wings. Extensive scientific research confirms this causes suffering.
  • 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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