Viewers of ABC’s Good Morning America this morning woke up to a jolting report by chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross on the news of Mercy For Animals’ new undercover investigation into one of the largest egg producers in the country: Sparboe Foods.
In the undercover video, viewers got an unauthorized look at the unhealthy and inhumane conditions on one of the largest egg factories in America. In fact, the footage is so disturbing that in response to the video, one of Sparboe’s biggest egg buyers, McDonald’s, dropped the company last night. ABC plans to air more in-depth news pieces about this investigation tonight on World News Tonight and also on 20/20.
Sparboe is not only guilty of obvious mistreatment of hens, but it’s decided to fight reform efforts to improve animal welfare within the entire egg industry. The company is one of the only major egg producers in the nation to oppose the recent historic agreement between the United Egg Producers and The Humane Society of the United States to improve animal welfare for all laying hens in the country. That’s no surprise to those of us who know the workings of this company, given that it routinely cuts corners and does not want to make investments in better care for hens.
After years of conflict and combat with the animal welfare movement, the vast majority of egg producers now support the effort to pass a federal bill phasing out barren battery cages. Sparboe has instead chosen to spend its money to fight the UEP-HSUS agreement rather than to give its hens a better life. McDonald’s took a positive step by dropping Sparboe, and it won’t surprise us if the other major purchasers of eggs from Sparboe Farms follow suit.
The status quo in the egg industry is simply not an option. It’s time to pass long-overdue federal reforms for the hundreds of millions of birds raised for eggs. Tune in tonight to World News and 20/20 to see the grisly record of a notorious outlier within the industry.