The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a complaint (pdf) with the Federal Trade Commission to stop the country's largest egg producer, Rose Acre Farms -- makers of Eggland's Best eggs -- from making false and misleading statements in its marketing and advertising about how it treats chickens at the company's farms. On its Web site, posters and in media interviews, the company suggests that Rose Acre provides a "humane and friendly environment" for caged birds, that birds have plenty of space to "move around and socialize" with other chickens and that only chickens who are treated well will be "happy" enough to lay eggs. Rose Acre also claims that their chickens are "comfortable." In reality, according to HSUS, millions of hens are confined for their entire lives in barren wire cages stacked four and eight levels high. Cages are so densely packed that the birds cannot even spread their wings fully. In February and March 2010, HSUS conducted undercover investigations at several Rose Acre Farms locations and videotaped how the chickens are kept. Chickens lose limbs or endure broken bones from rough handling, some birds get trapped in the cage wire and become unable to reach food and water or get trampled to death, and some chickens die, with the carcasses left to rot in the cages for weeks or longer. Consumers have no way to verify producers' claims about how chickens are kept.
By Anne Landman on June 21, 2010