[Ed. Note: 150,000 male checks are killed every day in this one facility; the females are kept alive to produce eggs and fertilized embryos for the vaccine industry.]
Undercover footage reveals chicks being thrown, dumped, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, injured and killed by the industrial equipment, left for days without access to food or water, and fully-conscious male chicks being ground-up alive.
United Egg Producers agrees the situation is hopeless. The female chicks face a life in hell. As for the male chicks, “If someone has a need for 200 million male chicks, we’re happy to provide them to anyone who wants them. But we can find no market, no need” (Associated Press, September 1, 2009).
An animal advocacy organization plans to make public Tuesday hidden camera footage shot by a group member alleging cruelty at a Spencer egg hatchery, a spokesman said Monday.
Nathan Runkle of Mercy For Animals, a national animal protection organization, said a group member gained employment at the Hy-Line egg production facility at Spencer, Iowa and used a hidden camera to record what he called “shocking” conditions to be revealed Tuesday.
“We feel this is information that consumers want and deserve to have,” Runkle said.
The undercover footage -- recorded last May and June – “reveals chicks being thrown, dumped, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, injured and killed by the industrial equipment, left for days without access to food or water, and fully-conscious male chicks being ground-up alive,” according to a Mercy for Animals news release.
Tom Jorgensen of Hy-Line North America’s corporate headquarters in West Des Moines, issued a statement Monday saying the company is probing the allegations to determine if inappropriate action or violations of the company’s animal welfare policies occurred.
“We have initiated an immediate investigation of the entire situation, although it would have been more beneficial had we been aware of the potential violation immediately after it occurred,” according to the Hy-Line statement.
“Following our investigation, if any violation of our animal welfare policies is found, the employee or employees involved will be disciplined per company policy, up to and including termination,” the statement added.
Hy-Line’s top priority is “the care and safety of our birds and our employees,” the statement said, and company officials monitor daily hatchery procedures, provide on-going training to all hatchery staff, and are committed to meeting or exceeding all industry standards.
Along with releasing copies of the footage on its mercyforanimals.org website, Runkle said his group plans to send letters to the nation’s 50 largest grocery chains, calling on them to require that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label reading, “Warning: Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry.”
Runkle said Iowa anti-cruelty laws currently include “sweeping” exceptions for common agricultural practices that exempt certain practices from prosecution, which his group would like to see changed.
The Hy-Line statement said hatchery procedures are supported and approved by the animal veterinary and scientific community, adding “instantaneous euthanasia by maceration is specifically supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association, Federation of Animal Science Societies, Agriculture Canada, World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and European Union (EU).
View images of chick hatchery brutalities.