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.

Friday, November 11, 2005

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Wegmans Egg Farm
(updated 11-07-2005)

. . Continuous Improvement

Over the next year, we will be working with Dr. Joy Mench, professor of animal science at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Mench, is an expert in animal behavior who recently co-authored the book "Poultry Behaviour and Welfare." She will examine our egg farm operation and make recommendations for improvement if necessary.

We are also continuing to work with Dr. Benjamin Lucio, who visits our farm and monitors the health and well being of our hens regularly as part of Cornell University's Poultry Diagnostic and Extension Service.

What does Dr. Mench say about production methods like Wegmans?

Dr. Mench on Battery Cages (UEP guidelines recommend barren battery cages.)

Note: Dr. Mench sat on the UEP’s advisory committee for its animal welfare guidelines, which recommend 67 square inches of cage space per bird for white laying hens, an amount of space Dr. Mench calls “meager”:

“The recommended space allowance for laying hens in some countries is 60-80 square inches per hen, barely enough for the hen to turn around and not enough for her to perform normal comfort behaviors; however, many hens are allowed less than even that meager amount.”(12)

“Battery cages provide an inadequate environment for nesting, lacking both sites which fit these criteria [concealment and separation from other birds] as well as substrates for nest-building. Hens housed in battery cages display agitated pacing and escape behaviors which last for 2 to 4 hours prior to oviposition.”(13)

“A different decision about the minimum recommendation would have been reached had the committee given more weight to the information from the preference testing and use of space studies, since these indicate that hens need and want more space than 72 square inches.”(14)

Dr. Mench on “Beak Trimming” (UEP guidelines recommend “beak trimming” without painkiller.)

“There is mounting evidence that beak trimming also results in behavioral and neurophysiological changes indicative of acute and chronic pain. … Both beak trimmed chicks and adults display difficulty in grasping and swallowing feed even when their pecking rates are high.”(15)

Mench: “Chickens explore their environment with their beaks. They like to pick things up, and that’s their main way of exploring and touching and feeling things.”

NPR: “So, cutting off the beak is a big deal, if you’re a hen?”

Mench: “It’s definitely a big deal.”(16)

Dr. Mench on Forced Molting (UEP guidelines do not prohibit forced molting.)

“The bird is starved. Yes, the bird is starved. I don’t like to see hungry animals not being given food.”(17)

“Feed restriction and deprivation can thus lead to boredom and the development of stereotypies and vices.”(18)

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