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Sparboe Farms, McDonalds and the Truth About Factory Farming

There’s been a big to-do lately about Sparboe Farms – the company who supplied (until last week) McDonalds with nearly all of their billions of eggs each year. Employees have been caught on video from a Mercy for Animals under cover investigator, and during an ABC Investigation, tormenting and torturing hens at their facilities. Employees are taped swinging live hens at the end of a rope and cruelly handling hens for the shear pleasure of doing so. It also shows dead fowl left to rot in cages with egg-laying hens and chicks’ beaks being burned off.

Also a reality of daily factory farm activities, which is where 90% of the eggs in the United States come from, are blood on eggs, chicks being crushed in workers’ hands and other birds being simply thrown away – male chicks are immediately thrown away as a bi-product of the egg laying industry. Salmonella and E-Coli make their way into your refrigerator as a result of these common practices.

Sparboe’s president and owner, Beth Sparboe Schnell, displayed the canned shock and dismay expected in these very uncomfortable exposures. She makes the statement: “Acts depicted in the footage are totally unacceptable and completely at odds with our values as egg farmers,” Yeah, Uh-Huh. Battery cages, burning chicks beaks, and throwing away male chicks is standard operating procedure on factory farms.

Sparboe Schnell begins talking about the new Sparboe Farm Sustainability Task Force and quality assurance so this doesn’t happen again. All bird handling employees have been retrained, and there will be ongoing training… What is missing here, is the acknowledgement that it is near impossible for employees to treat these animals as the sentient creatures they are when the culture of factory farming forces them in the opposite direction. Assembly lines, quotas, and the stench assure these individuals must turn off any instinct they may have to be repelled by this situation in order to survive it.

Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the U.S., never missing an opportunity for free press told ABC News, “Passing ‘third-party audits’ means little when the standards of that audit are anemic at best. Sparboe doesn’t need a task force to understand what it needs to do.”

While I agree with his singular statement, I have to send out a sarcastic “Thanks Wayne! That means a lot coming from someone who completely sold out by jumping in bed with the United Egg Producers.” Read more in my post at Your Daily Vegan on what Wayne thinks is good practice. I suppose he’s willing to step in and work with them to come up with an amenable plan. Maybe he’ll suggest a compromise like limiting the length of the rope used to swing the birds.

From the Chicago Tribune: According to Sparboe’s website, the company is “the first egg producer in the nation to be certified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Processed Verified Program for its science-based animal welfare production guidelines.” The company claims that its standards are “verified by USDA every six months.”

What the H-E-double hockey sticks does that mean? Science-based animal welfare? How clinical, and removed from the actual animals. These folks can spin it all they want, but the truth is still there: factory farming by its very nature is cruel to every single living thing on those farms, including its employees.

For more information on factory farming please visit Farm Sanctuary, who so generously share their footage and photos with the public – including the image above.

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