Undercover video causes stir in US poultry industry
An animal protection organisation in the US has
released a hidden-camera video that shows chickens being mistreated by handlers
and birds left with untreated wounds in crowded cages.
was shot covertly by an undercover investigator with the Mercy for
Animals group. Officials with the group said the video was shot this year at
Gemperle Enterprises, which supplies giant NuCal Foods Inc., the biggest
supplier of eggs in the western US.
"Unfortunately, we believe this abuse is likely rampant across the
country," said executive director of the Chicago group Nathan Runkle. "As long
as these birds are treated like egg-producing machines, the abuse will likely
NuCal Food referred calls to Chris Myles, a spokesman for the Pacific Egg
and Poultry Assn. Myles said the association condemned many of the "graphic
images and activities depicted in this film," calling them "in violation of our
high standards for animal welfare." He added that the vast majority of egg and
poultry farms in California operated in a humane and ethical manner.
However, according to the owner of Gemperle Enterprises, the animal group
was using suspect video footage to make accusations that run counter to the
policies and practices of his operation. "What I saw on that video is not what
our company does," said Steve Gemperle, a second-generation owner of the egg
producer. "We do not accept any abuse of farm animals. It's against our values
Mercy for Animals is asking Merced and Stanislaus counties to launch a
criminal investigation into Gemperle Enterprises. Although federal law does not
regulate treatment of egg-laying chickens, state animal-cruelty regulations
prohibit the mistreatment of the birds, Runkle said.
Source: Los Angeles Times
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