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, December 23, 2005

Make a Donation to Compassionate Consumers in the Name of a Loved One

If you've ever had trouble talking to friends or family members about the plight of farmed animals or if you just can't think of what to get someone this holiday season, here's a great gift idea.

This holiday season you can give a gift while also
informing your friends and family of the plight of the 750,000 hens at Wegmans Egg Farm, the largest such farm in New York State. Your gift to Compassionate Consumers goes toward helping these animals in one of two ways:

1. LEGAL DEFENSE for our three investigators currently
facing felony burglary and trespassing charges. The
outcome of the CC3 legal issues will set a precedent for animal welfare investigations nationwide in years to come.

2. CAMPAIGN MATERIALS for Compassionate Consumers' ever-expanding campaign against Wegmans Food Markets. At the center of the campaign is the documentary "Wegmans Cruelty", more copies of which will need to be ordered in coming month. In the five months since the campaign began nearly 10,000 copies of the film have been handed out or downloaded from various websites. Other materials include bumper stickers and
bumper magnets, as well as signs for our regular demonstrations. Many of these materials have been sent
to animal advoacy groups from Buffalo to Baltimore free of charge to help with local demonstrations and
other events.

When you make a donation of at least $20 to
Compassionate Consumers your friend or family member
will receive a special notice telling them of the gift made in their name. The notice will come on professional stationary and will inform them of Compassionate Consumers' campaign. It will also be accompanied by a cased copy of "Wegmans Cruelty" as well as a bumper magnet reading "WegmansCruelty.com: Watch the Film. Then Decide."

Donations can be made online at www.wegmanscruelty.com via PayPal or by sending a check to:

Compassionate Consumers
PO Box 18552
Rochester, NY 14618

Remember to give the name and address of the person
for whom you are making the donation.

Compassionate Consumers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit

Here are some significant events in the campaign's
first five months:

July 2, 2005 – The documentary, Wegmans Cruelty, is
released for free download on the Internet, and is
made available for sale. The Democrat & Chronicle in Rochester, NY writes a comprehensive story covering
the investigation of Wegmans' Egg Farm. Subsequently, four news stations and other newspapers in the area
pick up the story.

July 15, 2005 – The Democrat & Chronicle exposes the
firing of a CC member from her job as a result of
participation in the Wegmans campaign.

July 21, 2005 – A letter is sent from The Humane
Society of the United States to Wegmans Headquarters
requesting that it cease to sell eggs from battery-caged hens. No response is received.

August 22, 2005 – The three Compassionate Consumers
investigators are indicted for trespassing, criminal
mischief, and felony burglary.

September 26, 2005 – Wegmans Cruelty is shown at the
nationaly-renowned Little Theatre in downtown
Rochester. 128 people turn out for the screening.

September 30, 2005 – The Federal Trade Commission
rules that the "Animal Care Certified" logo, which
appears on Wegmans-brand eggs, is to be removed from egg cartons nationwide by March 31, 2006.

October 12, 2005 – The University of Rochester
Vegetarian Education Group (UR-VEG) announces a
petition drive, asking Wegmans to follow the lead of the University of Rochester and convert its egg farm
to a cage-free facility. Danny Wegman is a Senior Trustee at the University of Rochester.

October 27, 2005 – A screening of Wegmans Cruelty at the Rochester Institute of Technology draws 135
people. Over 115 people sign the UR-VEG petition, bringing the total number of signatures to over 1,000.

November 18, 2005 – 45 activists from across New York
State demonstrate in front of Wegmans Corporate
Headquarters in Rochester. Some activists drive hours to be there.


Contact Ryan Merkley, Campaign Coordinator for
Compassionate Consumers, with any questions:
If Wegmans expands to New Hampshire, they won't be selling Wegmans' Eggs at the University there, just like they won't be selling them at the University of Rochester where Danny is a trustee!

UNH sets egg standards

DURHAM - The University of New Hampshire is phasing out its use of eggs from caged birds.

In a press release, The Humane Society of the United States applauded the move by UNH’s University Hospitality Services to eliminate the use of eggs from caged birds from its shelled eggs at the beginning of the spring 2006 semester.

UNH has also pledged to only purchase eggs from sources that meet the animal care standards of Humane Farm Animal Care, an independent farm animal welfare certifying organization. The school’s dining halls, conferences, catering, and New England Center hotel currently use approximately 250,000 eggs per year.

The HSUS said it had provided UNH with information about a local cage-free egg producer.

"Our students and customers are increasingly aware of how their food is raised or produced," said University Hospitality Services assistant director Rick MacDonald. "Moving to Certified Humane cage-free eggs complements our efforts to serve local and sustainable food when possible."

The college joins a growing list of schools refusing to use eggs from caged birds. More than seventy other colleges and universities have eliminated or are phasing out the use of eggs from caged hens, including Marist College, Vassar College, University of Rochester, St. John Fisher College, George Washington University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and American University.

According to the Humane Society, approximately 95 percent of eggs sold in the United States, come from hens confined in barren "battery cages," wire enclosures so small the birds can’t even spread their wings or engage in many other natural behaviors, such as nesting, foraging, perching, and dust bathing.
Raid on Wegmans' hen house

Fresh Talk
By Richard Turcsik and Seth Mendelson

A flock of controversy is being kicked up at the Wegmans Egg Farm in Wolcott, N.Y., which has been targeted by animal rights activists who favor cage-free eggs. In October, three activists belonging to a group called Compassionate Consumers were indicted on several counts for breaking into the 750,000-bird facility-the largest in New York state-in July 2004 with the hopes of capturing video of the hens' living conditions.

In July of this year, activists released a documentary film called Wegmans Cruelty that reports on alleged cruelty at the farm, which was started in 1967 and supplies eggs to the retailer's stores. The film has been making its way through the upstate independent film circuit, and in late October "premiered" at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where the screening was sponsored by the RIT Vegetarian Education Group. According to Compassionate Consumers, a screening at The Little Theatres in downtown Rochester, Wegmans' hometown, drew more than 100 people.

Wegmans has counterattacked by placing information about the egg farm on its Web site. "We're proud that others tell us we have one of the best-run farms in the entire country," the Web site states. "Can we do even better? Of course. We're now protecting our birds against break-ins (something that had never before happened in the history of the farm) and we're increasing the scrutiny of every cage every day and are making other improvements."

Birds are also protected against foxes, raccoons and wild birds, diseases caused by walking in manure or soil, Avian flu from wild birds, climate conditions and severe weather. Wegmans notes that cage-free eggs are available in all of its stores, but because they cost more to produce, have a retail price two to three times higher.

"You may ask why our 750,000 chickens are in cages anyway," the Web site states. "Up until the 1960s most eggs were produced in cage-free systems. Free-range chickens, exposed to the outdoors, have a normal mortality rate anywhere from 20% to 40% a year. We believe that our farm, which has a mortality rate of less than 8%, is doing the right thing."

Monday, December 19, 2005

Sunday, 18 December 2005

Santa showed up at Wegmans Pittsford with 14 other demonstrators
On Sunday, December 18 Santa Claus showed up at Wegmans Pittsford with 14 of his friends to make his opinions heard.

"Little Danny says that 'Every Day You Get Our Best,' but so far Danny hasn't lived up to his promise," said Claus. "Between you and me, he's on my naughty list this year."

What, according to Claus, is the best Christmas present that Danny could give to the 750,000 chickens at his egg farm? "He should make his farm cage-free," said Claus. "He's already planning on revamping the facilities shown in the film Wegmans Cruelty. If he tries out some cage-free sheds, Danny might just find some presents under his tree."

Santa spread the Christmas cheer Sunday, handing out DVDs as gifts to passersby. He told us that he may make a few more visits to Danny's stores before Christmas. Look for him at Rochester-area Wegmans stores in the coming week.
East Bay Animal Advocates Film Festival: Night Four

Date: January 25
Time: 7 PM
Location: Humanist Hall, 390 27th Street (Between Telegraph & Broadway), Oakland Film Info:

Premiere of EBAA's California Egg Industry Documentary

Each year over 19 million egg-laying hens are raised in concentrated confinement to produce table eggs for California consumers. According to the California Poultry Workgroup, close to 100 percent of egg-layers are confined to battery cages. For more information, visitwww.cal-eggs.com.

“Wegmans Cruelty”“

Wegmans Cruelty” is a half hour documentary produced by a small investigative team from the organization Compassionate Consumers. Organization members contacted Wegmans Food Markets to try to hold some meaningful dialogue about the conditions at Wegmans Egg Farm, and were then misled and dismissed by Wegmans representatives. The team set outto capture actual footage inside the farm and create a film based on their experience. For more information, visit www.wegmanscruelty.com.

To RSVP: Click here or call (925) 487-4419.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Toronto Vegetarian Association Resource Center

NEW in our Library! Wegmans Cruelty DVD.
Tree Huggers and other Activists

So I'm driving home today from running some random errands, and I go past Wegmans (the big grocery store chain here in NY, kinda like Eagles, Krogers, etc...) and out in front of the store by the side of super busy Ridge Road West I spot people holding protest signs. Now that in and of itself is not so strange. Living in a larger, more liberal city than what I was used to growing up, I've seen a fair share of protesting of various kinds since being here in Rochester. This specific group was holding signs reading things such as "Say no to Cages", "boycott this store", "Check out our Website - www.wegmanscruelty.com".

Being the curious sucker that I am, I came home and hopped online right away to see what was so cruel about Wegmans and the grocery store chain I've grown to love. Apparently there is an animal cruelty organization out there that believes that the way Wegmans raises their hens and therefore produces their eggs is done in an inhumane way. Their hens are mass raised in huge sheds and admittedly, the facilities do not look so sanitary or great. However, it doesn't take long growing up in Illinois to realize that farming and raising stupid animals is rarely something that is kept sanitary, let alone on a mass level. This group has launched a web site, organized protests, and even produced a DVD that they sell all pushing for people to ban Wegmans because of their cruelty to animals. They're so behind this cause that 3 of them broke into a local Wegmans hen farm to film for their DVD and now they actually face up to 7 years imprisonment if convicted of the charges against them.

Now I ask you - is this all really worth it? Don't get me wrong, I love animals as much as the next person. But really? In the midst of world events lately (the tsunami, the war in Iraq, hurricane Katrina, etc...) where hundreds and thousands of human lives are being lost or ruined, is getting riled up about a few chickens really the right thing to do? If I remember correctly, we humans were the only thing created in the image of God, the only thing capable of receiving salvation, and probably most important, the only things going to hell if we don't know Jesus. I can't believe how narrow minded and short sighted we humans can be sometimes. There is more than enough in this world happening to humans that is totally inhumane and cruel. Maybe, just maybe, it would be a better investment of what God has given us to invest in those causes; to spend our money, time, and resources fighting for something that will have eternal consequences. That seems to be the heart of God - maybe we should turn that up a little louder in our hearts, minds, and pocketbooks.

(Yes, you are so right! Thank God for how Wegmans treats chickens cruelly, how they lie about it and how almost nobody cares!

And don't forget that we can't care about tsunami victims and other human victims of tragedy -- much less do anything for them -- and not buy Wegmans eggs! If we cared about animals at all, we just couldn't do all the wonderful things we are doing to help humans, that would just be too much for us caring people ..)
Humbolt Hens

Cage Free Eggs

Wegmans Cruelty: An Unofficial Blog

Some interesting stuff here. Now that Scott and I have chickens, it's a lot easier to understand why you'd want to buy free-range eggs. (They are more nutritious, as Mother Earth News points out, but I'm talking more about the treatment of the hens here.) I don't like the idea of keeping a chicken in a tiny cage its entire life--and I won't get into the details of how gruesome this life can be, but read about it if you want--any more than I'd want a dog or a cat or any other creature to live its whole life in a cage.

Our chickens are very much individuals. They have personalities, they form little friendships (Abigail would be lost without Eleanor, and vice versa), and they have very distinct likes and dislikes. When we have idly discussed the idea of expanding our flock so we can sell some eggs, we quickly dismissed the idea because it would be impossible to pay attention to the birds as individuals if you had very many of them--just the same way that crazy cat ladies are entirely unable to manage a herd of 50 or 75 cats. The quote about veterinary care for cage-raised birds in this article just proves the point:

"Lucio explained that while workers are in the buildings on a daily basis, veterinary care for the birds is limited. 'Treatments are limited to the flock. We don't treat one single chicken. It's almost impossible to find one sick chicken in a chicken house of that size. Once something, such as an illness, is starting that will affect several birds, then they are treated. Most of the care the birds get is preventive. Before they arrive they're vaccinated and then kept fed and watered.' Lucio added that in a facility the size of Wegmans' 'there will be dead birds in the cages every day.' "

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

See the horrors of battery cages
The push for UDS to carry cage-free eggs offers an opportunity to reassess relationships.

By Jason Ketola
The Minnesota Daily

. . . Rather than asking us to reason abstractly about how humans relate to chickens, Compassionate Action for Animals’ campaign to get UDS to carry eggs from certified humane companies asks us to look at the suffering of the hens and to reconsider whether chickens are as thinglike or machinelike as modern farms treat them.

Several resources are easily available to the public to help us evaluate how we think about egg-laying chickens even if we can’t all visit the farms themselves. This year, the group Compassionate Consumers produced a free, downloadable documentary available at www.wegmanscruelty.com , about its investigation of the farm supplying the East Coast grocery chain, Wegmans Food Market, with battery-caged eggs. The Twin Cities chapter of Compassionate Action for Animals discovered similar treatment of hens in their investigation of local farms, pictures of which are viewable at www.banbatterycages.org. The Humane Society of the United States has information, pictures and videos of battery-cage farming online at www.hsus.org/farm_animals.

For each of us, this is a profound opportunity to learn about where our eggs come from and to see the lives of hens in battery-cage conditions. Moreover, by acknowledging the suffering of these hens, we can reclaim a way of relating to animals that our culture has delegitimized.

Friday, December 02, 2005

30 Attend Daytime Screening at St. John Fisher

Thursday 30 students attended an afternoon screening of "Wegmans Cruelty" at St. John Fisher College. Campaign Coordinator for Compassionate Consumers Ryan Merkley gave a short talk and led the question and session after the film. According to Merkley students were very interested in the film and the campaign, leading to a wide array of questions asked.

Compassionate Consumers thanks St. John Fisher Professor of Sociology Paul Fuller for inviting the group to present and speak.

CC hopes to do another screening at Fisher during the spring semester.