Wegmans Cruelty: An Unofficial Blog

This is an unofficial blog and informational archive related to the WEGMANSCRUELTY film and resulting campaign.

Please see that page for more information.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Wegmans Mary Ellen Burris Columns

Eggzactly So ( 03-20-2005 )

At Wegmans own Egg Farm out in Wolcott, Wayne County, NY, the chicken definitely comes before the egg. We acquire baby chicks first and take care of them from then on. Two years ago, I wrote about our involvement in the Animal Care Certified program, and with peak egg demand now, it’s time for a farm update.

The farm has been supplying eggs to Wegmans customers since 1968. Manager Andy Wadsworth and his team of 72 employees care for the flocks of chickens laying around at this facility. These birds are not scratching in a barnyard (that would be tough in snowy weather); they are fed and cared for inside chicken cages in environmentally controlled laying houses.

It’s typical for Wegmans, and the farm is no different, that we try to stay abreast of new developments, both in technology and humane treatment. Back in 1999, The United Egg Producers commissioned an independent Scientific Advisory Committee (an objective, unpaid ten-person committee of scientists, academicians, U.S. Dept. of Agriculture officials, and humane association members) to study egg industry practices related to animal welfare. Improvements on existing guidelines were suggested…more aggressive standards based on science. After implementing the new guidelines, our farm began its investment in a yearly USDA validation process. Passing this validation allows us to use the Animal Care Certified seal – you’ll find that on every egg carton. More information about the program can be obtained by logging on to Animalcarecertified.com.

The commitment is to protect the hens from disease and injury. We continually upgrade security measures to protect against outside contact, including visitor restrictions and perimeter fencing of the farm. In keeping with new guidelines, more space is given for hens to stand comfortably upright with access to food at all times. There’s lots of fresh, clean water and ventilation. Our new cage design keeps hens clean, and if they ‘fly the coop,’ our folks walk the houses daily to put them back where they belong. Hens are also prevented from injuring other hens with their beaks (some of these birds don’t play nice). And a Cornell Cooperative Extension veterinarian monitors the condition of the flocks routinely.

Plenty to crow about, don’t you think?

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