A Publix disgrace – grocery chain is a holdout on cage-free future

By on July 6, 2016 with 5 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Step into a smallish elevator. Have a dozen others file in and fill it up, so much so that shoulders are pressed against one another from wall to wall.

The elevator breaks down. The lights go out. Panic sets in.

“I’ve got to get out of here!” – that’s the sequence of words racing through the head of every person trapped in that box.

That’s an image from television and online advertising we’re doing to represent the unending living conditions for hens caught up in battery cages on America’s factory farms, crammed together and denied even the ability to extend their wings.

While the fire department will rescue the people trapped in the fictional elevator, no one is on the way to help the hens, whose circumstances are all too real. They’re stuck in cages for 12 to 18 months – not for a few minutes or a couple of hours, but for a year and more. When they’re no longer productive, they’ll be manhandled and jammed into small boxes, stacked onto a truck, and sent to slaughter.

This must change – this disgraceful system of egg production must be ripped up from the ground and the hen cages ripped apart.

On this blog, I’ve delivered much good news to you on the progress we’ve made working with companies to eliminate their use and sale of eggs from caged chickens. We’ve worked with everyone from McDonald’s to Denny’s to Nestle to Walmart to enact exclusive cage-free egg policies that have timelines attached.

In any issue related to animals however, whether it’s the last state to ban dogfighting, or the last province or nation to defend seal clubbing, there’s always a holdout. Somebody, or some entity, on the wrong side of history.

Publix has become that holdout on cage confinement. It is the only grocer among the 25 largest that refuses to enact a timeline to go 100 percent cage-free.

What makes the situation more exasperating is that company spokespersons claim our plan to transition to cage free isn’t workable – even as every other top grocer has concluded otherwise. We’ve reached out, yet the folks there are not engaging, making me skeptical of public pronouncements that they’re taking a careful look at the idea of cage-free.

Today, Vampire Diaries actor Paul Wesley sent a letter to Publix’s CEO, asking him to commit to going cage-free. In it, Paul describes the conditions for these poor animals as “each caged chicken is provided less space than this very sheet of paper on which to live for her entire life. She’s nearly immobilized, unable to spread her wings, and is prevented from engaging in behaviors that allow even a remotely decent life—like walking, perching, scratching, dust bathing, and laying eggs in a nest.”

Just reading that depiction pains the heart of any caring soul. And we can’t sit and just wait for policies to be put in place to remove animals from situations characterized by extreme neglect and suffering. We have to speak out publicly and call out those who prefer the status quo rather than change in response to the ever-growing consumer demand that all animals, including those in food production, deserve protection from cruelty.

Please visit our CagedForPublix website to see how you can help.

Farm Animals

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  1. Carrie Henderson says:

    These animals are beings with feelings . They deserve humane treatment as any live being does. We are considered a humane nation. Let us use our God-given intelligence and provide the proper healthy conditions for those who are giving us food.

  2. AVIS HOLT says:

    I shop at Publix and I buy EggLand’s Best. I thought they were cage free but can’t find it on the packaging. Are they cage-free?

    • Vaishali Honawar says:

      Hi Avis, I am the editor of A Humane Nation. Eggland’s Best offers both cage and cage-free eggs (cage-free would also include free-range and organic). If the carton doesn’t say “cage-free,” “free-range,” or “organic,” the eggs came from caged chickens.

  3. Barb says:

    I have shopped at Publix for years and they are a descent company. I am sure they will go cage-free, but maybe they have a legal agreement with with the other egg companies. No one knows unless you are on the inside working. Don’t slam Publix as I believe they will do what is right and prudent in the end.

  4. Paul F Davis says:

    Please contact me with ALL the articles and investigations you have done on Publix abuse of chickens. I want to write a book on it. I am the author of “The Future of Food” (volumes 1 & 2) having earned Master degrees in Health and Global Food Law.

    On Feb.28th at 9:15pm, I bought a rotisserie chicken from Publix and it had maggots on it inside the meat and carcass. I didn’t discover the maggots until I ate both legs, wings, thighs, some back underparts and began to near the center breast area of the chicken. On March 2, 2017 I filed a complaint with the USDA and it was forwarded to the FL Health Department to inspect the grocery store (Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, 32812). I HAVE THE PHOTOS AND CHICKEN IN MY REFRIGERATOR, which I am willing to share. Perhaps your help launching a CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT will help advance a swift policy change on Publix chicken farms. I live in Orlando, FL and would also like to visit Publix chicken farms to video, expose, write about and publicize such unhealthy abuses (to chickens and humans).

    Injuries sustained: headaches, stomach pain, nausea, fever, chills, itching scalp, burning throat and eyes. Yet beyond the present I expect more health complications in the future based on my knowledge of the following (stated in the next paragraph).

    The TV series “Monsters Inside of Me” produced by Animal Planet documents many real life cases with microbiologists and infectious disease specialists showing several cases. One case involved a man who traveled to Africa to participate in a wedding. He ate something infested and 10 years later back in America the worms showed up in his brain causing him pain, ailments, and tumors. Thus my INJURIES are not only now, but can reoccur now throughout my life once the infestation is resident within me (thanks to Publix negligence).

    I have earned Master degrees in Health and Global Food Law having studied microbiology and parasitology extensively. President Jimmy Carter’s organization helps people in Africa (where I have traveled) suffering with infestation from guinea worms. Unsustainable agriculture and farming practices are causing illness, pain and suffering to chickens and the people who eat them. PUBLIX driven solely by profit however DOES NOT CARE.

    Chicken was refrigerated by Publix (Conway and Curry Ford Store, Orlando, FL location) and in a fully covered plastic container.

    Within the last 12 months I have endured the following at Publix:
    – white mold in their berries (October 2016)
    – 4 pits in their cherries damaging/chipping my teeth (October 2016)
    – rotten apples (February 2016)
    – maggots in their chicken (March 2, 2017)

    FL consumers deserve better.

    Paul Davis

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