Egg Industry Seeks Leverage Against Undercover Investigators

The battery egg industry’s main trade group, the United Egg Producers, has issued new guidelines, partly in an attempt to prevent future undercover investigations of egg facilities. According to ag industry journal Feedstuffs:

[One new section of the guidelines] requires all “caretakers” to learn, sign and adhere to a code of conduct that requires them to not only be responsible for the health and welfare of birds in their care but “to watch for employees or other persons” who may be engaged in animal cruelty or neglect,” specifying that any employee who sees any employee engaged in or suspected of animal cruelty or neglect must report this “to company management immediately.”

The egg producers know that it typically takes weeks or months to comprehensively amass video evidence documenting plant conditions. And the only way to build a case against a given company is to provide clear evidence that neglect or abuse is pervasive. Since animal suffering is found virtually everywhere in a battery cage facility, any investigator who went running to management at the first sign of cruelty would instantly compromise his identity.

The battery egg industry is based on looking the other way when it comes to animal cruelty. This provision is simply about giving battery egg operations a justification to sue undercover investigators after damaging videos are made public.

Also from the Feedstuffs piece:

The language seeks to address how activist groups that are opposed to cage-housing systems are increasingly infiltrating layer operations — getting jobs as employees and then violating their responsibilities to the birds in their care to film clandestine videos of the birds suffering and then release the video to the media and accuse the company of animal abuse that they have, in fact, caused. Often, the activists convince other workers to commit abuse for the videos.

Total bullshit. Rod Smith, the author of this piece, should be ashamed of himself for writing that.

The egg industry could of course head off the risk posed by undercover investigators by adopting less cruel farming practices, but that’s not how they roll. (Via Hawthorne.) Link.