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May 6, 2010

The HSUS Becomes Tasty Baking Company Shareholder – and Urges Company to Reduce Supply Chain Cruelty to Animals

At annual meeting, company to be asked to join with other industry leaders in giving egg-laying hens a break

At the annual shareholder meeting of Tasty Baking Company (NASDAQ: TSTY) on Friday, a representative of The Humane Society of the United States will ask the company to phase-in cage-free eggs, as many other major food businesses have done.

Date: May 7 at 11 a.m.
Location: Sheraton Society Hill Hotel, One Dock St., Philadelphia

Philadelphia-based Tasty Baking Company produces 439,000 snack cakes and 217,000 chocolate cupcakes every day. Its products are sold under the Tastykake brand.

As part of its efforts encouraging TBC to implement basic animal welfare improvements, The HSUS recently purchased stock in the company. The HSUS will 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.

A 2009 undercover exposé of TBC's egg supplier—Michael Foods—revealed extreme animal suffering and severe food safety concerns, such as birds forced to live in cages with mummified carcasses and animals painfully stuck in cage wires.

"Hens used to produce eggs for Tastykake products are crammed into cages so small, the animals are virtually immobilized for their entire lives," stated Matthew Prescott, corporate outreach director for The HSUS' factory farming campaign. "As a shareholder, The Humane Society of the United States will urge Tasty Baking Company to make meaningful animal welfare reforms, such as 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. All Wal-Mart and Costco private-label eggs are cage-free.

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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