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, August 29, 2005

Farm Sanctuary Action Alerts & Updates

Grocery Chain Has
History of Apathy
Toward Animal Abuse
Original Alert 7/14/05
Update 7/25/05

Battery Caged Egg-Laying Hens:
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. owns stores throughout the northeastern United States and is headquartered in Rochester, NY. In 1995, Farm Sanctuary's President, Gene Bauston, politely appealed to Wegmans food chain to stop housing their egg-producing hens in cramped battery cages. Jo Natale, Consumer Services Manager, stated in a July 19, 1995 letter that "birds are perfectly happy in cages which allow 53 to 60 square inches of space per bird."

One decade later, this same Wegmans spokesperson continued to defend battery cages in a Rochester newspaper, saying "We feel good about our egg farm," and claimed the factory farm they own in Wolcott, NY is clean and humane. Ms. Natale also promised to prosecute an activist group, Compassionate Consumers, for recently videotaping and exposing the horrendous conditions at Wegmans' Wayne County farm. This footage revealed sick and dying birds in crowded cages and some trapped up to their necks in manure pits. Although plotting to press charges for trespassing, ironically, Wegmans denies that all the footage was taken at their egg facility. Update: Wegmans also exerted pressure, resulting in activist being fired from her job!

Attempting to placate the public, Wegmans claims on their website that it is in the hens' best interest that they cannot be free-range, "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." Wegmans promotes their egg farm as being part of the United Egg Producer's 'Animal Care Certified program' which endorses battery cages that "allow enough space so hens can stand comfortably upright". However, the Better Business Bureau referred this case of misleading advertising to the Federal Trade Commission for potential legal action. The hard evidence also thoroughly convinced a self-proclaimed conservative skeptic: “I am disgusted by the falsehoods represented as the Truth and boasted by Wegmans with the certification stickers and emblems that so impressively adorn their various egg packages.”

Update: Wegmans has been sending a form response to activists who contact their store: “…The truth is that outsiders broke into our egg farm and compromised the safety of our hens. What followed was a thorough investigation by the New York State Police Department and the Wayne County District Attorney's office, which concluded that there was no evidence of animal abuse. We have serious doubts as to whether all of the images in the 30-minute film recently released by the activists come from our farm. We are now discussing with law enforcement authorities possible charges against those who broke into the farm….” Farm Sanctuary contacted a Wayne County humane officer in October 2004 with evidence that we received on this case, in the form of a letter describing the hens’ conditions, a videotape exposing the horrendous conditions, and veterinarian necropsy reports. This officer then sent the evidence to District Attorney Richard Healy. Unfortunately, the humane officer reported back to Farm Sanctuary in November that the D.A. was reluctant to prosecute Wegmans since he felt the conditions depicted on the evidence sent to him represented an isolated case! Farm Sanctuary then urged the D.A. to obtain a search warrant to make an unannounced visit to the facility. Regarding the “thorough investigation by the NYSPD that Wegmans claims happened, this also included questioning Farm Sanctuary staff. After making a polite call to the United Egg Producers with a few questions about their Animal Care Certified label, a New York State criminal investigator came to Farm Sanctuary, asking if we had any connection to a Farm Sanctuary member in upstate New York who simply wrote a letter to the editor against the use of battery cages for egg laying hens.

What You Can Do
Please contact Wegmans to complain about their cruel egg facility which they falsely promote as humane and ask them to stop selling veal from crated and tethered calves. For more information on these cruel industry practices, visit FactoryFarming.com

Jo Natale
Wegmans Consumer Affairs
1500 Brooks Avenue
PO Box 30844
Rochester, NY 14603-0844
1-800-WEGMANS ext. 4760
Their online contact form: http://www.wegmans.com/guest/index.asp

Activists: Try some great egg-less recipes and explore vegan egg substitutes by visiting VegForLife.org - share with friends and family.

Students: Ask your school, college or university to not use eggs in their dining facilities that are from caged hens.


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