Earlier today we wrote about a ballot initiative that if passed would ban California egg-producers from using small or battery-style cages for their egg-laying hens. That initiative has been qualified by the California Secretary of State's Office and will appear on California's ballot for residents to vote yes or no on this November.
In our piece, we wrote now that the small hen cage ban ballot initiative has been qualified and will appear on the November, 2008 California ballot, we expected to see a real "egg fight" start soon between the proponents of the small cage ban measure and those in the California egg industry who are against it becoming law.
It looks like that "egg fight" has started sooner than even Natural~Specialty Foods Memo thought it would.
The McClathchy Company-owned Modesto Bee, the largest daily newspaper in Merced and Stanislaus counties, which are the number one and two largest egg-producing counties in California, is reporting a group called Mercy For Animals has a video showing that one of the region's, and the state's, leading egg-producing companies, Gemperle Farms based in Turlock, California, abuses its egg-laying hens, or at least has employees who do so.
In the article, the company denies the video is of one of it's egg farming operations. However, Mercey For Animals says it can prove the video is from the egg-producer's egg farm in Merced County because the video was taken by a Mercy For Animals undercover operative who worked in the operation for some time and took the videos while employed with Gemperle Farms.
This isn't the first time a group says it took video of hen abuse at Gemperle Farms. A group called Farm Sanctuary said in 2005 and again last year it took videos of egg-laying hens being abused at Gemperle-owned chicken farms. You can read more about what this group had to say here.
Like we said, the issue is already starting to heat up. We will have more to report--and say--soon.
There's also a link to the video Mercy For Animals says was taken by its operative at the Gemperle Farms egg-laying farm here, along with additional information the group says comes from its undercover operative who worked at the facility.