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September 20, 2010

The Humane Society of the United States Becomes Lance Shareholder to Curb Animal Cruelty in Company’s Supply Chain

As part of its efforts encouraging Charlotte, N.C.-based Lance, Inc. (NASDAQ: LNCE) to ensure that the eggs in its products come from cage-free hens, The Humane Society of the United States announced Monday that it has become a stockholder of the snack food giant with annual sales of nearly $1 billion.

The HSUS intends to use its stockholder position to move the company away from using eggs that come from hens confined in battery cages—barren enclosures so tiny, the birds can’t even spread their wings.

“Lance’s exclusive use of eggs from caged hens puts the company at odds with growing public and corporate opposition to farm animal cruelty,” stated Kristie Middleton, corporate outreach manager 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 switching to cage-free eggs.”

Last year, a Lance egg supplier was the subject of an undercover exposé that revealed 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 mirrored video taken at other major battery cage egg producers nationwide.

Nationwide, a cage-free egg movement has taken root: snack food companies like Pepperidge Farm and Sara Lee are switching millions of eggs in their products to cage-free; Hellmann’s mayonnaise recently announced that it will convert all 350 million eggs it uses each year to cage-free; major restaurant chains—including Subway, Burger King, Red Robin, Wendy’s, Denny’s, Sonic, Quiznos, Hardee’s and Carl's Jr.—use cage-free eggs; supermarket chains including Wal-Mart, Costco, Safeway, and Charlotte-based Harris Teeter have all increased their sales of cage-free eggs; and Charlotte-based Compass Group, the world’s largest food service provider, has switched 100 million eggs to cage-free.

Facts

  • U.S. factory farms confine about 280 million hens in 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, like caged hens, may have parts of their beaks cut off, but they can walk, spread their ings and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into cages.
  • Factory farming continues to be a major social issue: Oprah Winfrey dedicated an entire show to the issue, TIME magazine has written extensively on the topic, and The American Conservative ran a cover article about the abuse inherent in confining animals so tightly they can barely move called “Torture on the Farm.”

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Follow The HSUS on Twitter.

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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