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April 14, 2010

HSUS Becomes Flowers Foods Shareholder in Campaign to Generate Animal Welfare Reforms

As part of its efforts encouraging one of the world's largest wholesale bakeries to implement the types of basic animal welfare changes other food manufacturers have made, The Humane Society of the United States announced today that it has purchased stock in Thomasville, Ga.-based Flowers Foods, Inc. (NYSE: FLO).

The HSUS intends to use its stockholder position to move the company away from egg suppliers that confine hens in battery cages—barren enclosures so tiny, the birds can't even spread their wings.

"Flowers Foods' complete lack of movement on animal welfare puts the company at odds with growing public opposition to farm animal abuse," stated Matthew Prescott, corporate outreach director for The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "As a shareholder, The Humane Society of the United States will urge the company to make meaningful animal welfare reforms, like phasing-in cage-free eggs."

Multinational food manufacturer Unilever announced in February that it intends to convert all 350 million eggs in its Hellmann's mayonnaise to cage-free, and many major chains—including Subway, Burger King, Red Robin, Wendy's, Denny's, Sonic, Quiznos, Safeway, Hardee's and Carl's Jr.—use cage-free eggs.

Flowers Foods has sales of about $2.6 billion and operates 40 production units in the South.

Facts

  • The vast majority of egg-laying hens are cruelly confined in cages so small the animals can barely move for their entire lives.
  • Two states, California and Michigan, have passed laws to phase out the extreme confinement of hens in 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.
  • Studies have shown that not confining animals in cages may also improve food safety.

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter. See our work for animals on your iPhone by searching "HumaneTV" in the App Store.

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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