Sacramento, CA May 6, 2008 -- Hidden camera footage revealing shocking animal abuse at one of California's largest egg factory farms will be released at a news conference on Tuesday by Mercy For Animals (MFA) - a national animal protection organization.
The footage - recorded covertly by a farm employee - reveals birds confined in cages so small they can't spread their wings, birds living amongst rotting corpses, and workers kicking, stomping on, throwing, and breaking the necks of live animals. MFA is calling on voters to support The California Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act ballot measure in November. Senator Carole Migden and Assembly member Lloyd Levine will announce their official endorsement of the Act at the news conference. Representatives from The Humane Society of the United States will also speak.
The undercover footage was recorded in early 2008 at Gemperle Enterprises in Merced County, California, a supplier to NuCal Foods Inc. - the largest distributor of shell eggs in the Western United States and a major financial contributor to the opposition committee fighting the ballot measure. Abuses documented include:
* Rotting carcasses in cages with live hens still laying eggs for human consumption.
* Birds suffering from untreated broken bones, open wounds, infections and prolapses.
* Workers brutally killing sick hens by grabbing their heads and swinging their bodies around to break their necks, or through neck-twisting, often resulting in a prolonged, torturous death.
* Workers roughly and forcefully handling birds, resulting in injuries, such as broken bones and blunt trauma.
* Hens covered in excrement, confined five to seven per cage the size of a file drawer, unable to stretch their wings, move freely or exercise.
After viewing the footage, Dr. Ned Buyuckmihci, an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, stated, "There is no question that the manner in which the chickens were treated was cruel by any normal definition of the word and resulted in suffering for the birds. The treatment of the hens violated norms of conduct with respect to animal welfare and veterinary care."
"Across California, millions of egg-laying hens live miserable lives crammed in tiny cages so restrictive they can't spread their wings or even walk," says MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle. "The egregious cruelty uncovered at this NuCal Foods supplier illustrates the urgent need for increased protection of farmed animals."
The ballot measure is being waged by Californians for Humane Farms, sponsored by The Humane Society of the United States, Farm Sanctuary, and other animal protection groups, family farmers, veterinarians, and public health professionals.
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