April 12, 2012
Animal Suffering, Filth, and Hen Corpses at Kreider Egg Farms
Undercover video shows need for federal legislation
An HSUS undercover investigation conducted in February and March of 2012 revealed a range of severe problems, including inhumane treatment of animals, at a Manheim, Pa., egg factory owned by Kreider Farms.
Of the nation's 280 million egg-laying hens, Kreider cages approximately 7 million at its four Pennsylvania facilities, located in Manheim, Mt. Joy, Middleton, and Lebanon. Pennsylvania is the nation's third largest egg-producing state.
The following problems, among others, were documented by the HSUS investigator.
- Birds were severely overcrowded in cages more cramped than the national average; each hen received only 54–58 square inches of space on which to spend her life.
- Injured and dead hens, including mummified bird carcasses, were found inside cages with living hens laying eggs for human consumption.
- Hens were left without water for days when a water source malfunctioned, causing many to die.
- Hens' legs, wings, and heads were found trapped in cage wires and automated feeding machinery.
- A thick layer of dead flies on the barn floors caused a crunching sound when walking on it.
In addition to keeping hens in deplorable conditions, Kreider Farms is one of the few egg producers in the U.S. which doesn't support federal legislation aimed at improving conditions for America’s laying hens, and providing a stable and secure future for egg farmers. [Editor's note: After The HSUS released this investigation, Kreider stated that it now does support this legislation.]
The bill in the U.S. Congress, H.R. 3798, the Egg Products Inspection Act Amendments of 2012, would phase in new housing systems for hens over the next 15 to 18 years, providing them far more space and ensuring that cages contain environmental enrichments such as perches and nesting areas.
"This new exposé underscores why we need a minimum federal standard for the housing of laying hens," stated Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States. "Our investigation shows that major egg producers can just go their own way, ignore even the most modest industry standards, and cause incredible stress and harm to birds."
The HSUS and the United Egg Producers, the nation’s egg industry trade association which represents 90 percent of U.S. egg production, had been long-time adversaries. But they've come together and identified a solution for housing 280 million laying hens—a solution that balances animal welfare and the economic realities of the industry. The nation needs this kind of problem-solving, and The HSUS is calling on Kreider to join the rest of the egg industry in supporting the federal legislation. Kreider is not a UEP member.
H.R. 3798, which has more than 50 cosponsors in the House, has also been endorsed by the American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Avian Pathologists, Consumer Federation of America, National Consumers League, state egg and poultry associations, hundreds of family farmers, and animal welfare groups. Editorials in leading newspapers—including the Philadelphia Inquirer, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Harrisburg Patriot-News—have also commented in support of the legislation.
Anna West: firstname.lastname@example.org, 240-751-2669