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October 15, 2010

Cal-Maine Shareholders to Vote on Fiscal Accountability at Company’s Annual Shareholder Meeting

At Jackson, Miss.-based Cal-Maine Foods’ annual meeting Friday, The Humane Society of the United States will urge shareholders to vote in favor of its  proposal asking Cal-Maine to provide a report disclosing its political expenditures in an effort to prevent the company from further misusing funds to defend inhumane animal confinement practices.

            When:             October 15, 2010, 10 a.m.
            Where:           Cal-Maine Foods, 3320 Woodrow Wilson Dr., Jackson, Miss.

Cal-Maine is the largest U.S. producer and distributor of whole eggs. Although Cal-Maine sells some cage-free eggs, the vast majority of its eggs come from hens who are crammed into battery cages—barren enclosures so tiny, the birds can’t even spread their wings.

In 2008, California voters overwhelmingly passed the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act prohibiting this type of cruel confinement. Cal-Maine was a top contributor to agribusiness’ opposition against this effort, spending more than half a million dollars to fight the modest measure, which even the earliest polls correctly projected would win by at least 20 points.

Kristie Middleton, corporate outreach manager for The HSUS’ factory farming campaign, who will speak at the meeting, states, “Rather than wasting company money opposing popular legislation that even supports a segment of the company’s business, Cal-Maine should use its funds to bring its production systems in line with the burgeoning corporate and public opposition to cruel battery cages.”

Across the country, a national movement away from using eggs from hens confined in cages has taken root: Burger King, Subway, Sonic, Wendy's, Arby’s, Denny's, Carl's Jr., Hardee's, Quiznos, and Golden Corral are just some of the major restaurant chains that use cage-free eggs; Wal-Mart's and Costco's private brand eggs are exclusively cage-free; and Hellmann's mayonnaise announced plans to convert the 350 million eggs it uses in the U.S. to cage-free.

A copy of The HSUS’ shareholder resolution is available upon request.

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 wings and lay their eggs in nests—all behaviors permanently denied to hens crammed into cages.
  • Factory farming is a major social issue: A study by food industry consultancy, Technomic, ranked animal welfare as the third-most important social issue to restaurant patrons; an American Farm Bureau-funded report found that 89% of Americans believe that food companies that require their suppliers to treat farm animals better are doing the right thing; and a Citigroup report found that cruelty to animals presents a “headline risk” to restaurant companies. 

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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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