Allegations of deplorable conditions and factory farm animal abuse are surfacing Tuesday morning against a Florida egg farm.
The Animal Recovery Mission held a news conference at 11 a.m. in Tampa that detailed information about their two-month undercover investigation.
They accuse Cal-Maine egg farm of forcing battery caged hens to live, in what they call, a "house of horror."
The animal rights group said in a written statement that the chickens were overcrowded in cages where they are trampled and strangled to death after becoming wedged in the cages.
The farm is accused of having hens live among other dead chickens and roaches. ARM claims that chickens die regularly from dehydration, starvation, egg binding and illnesses contracted from forcibly living in unsanitary conditions.
According to ARM, Cal-Maine provides eggs to Walmart and Publix.
Tampa-based WFTS-TV is currently working to contact Cal-Maine Corp. for a comment.
Cal-Maine Foods issued the following statement in response to the allegations:
Cal-Maine Foods is an industry leader in accepting and implementing animal welfare measures. All of the Company’s eggs are produced in accordance with United Egg Producers (UEP) animal care guidelines. Each employee involved in the care and handling of hens is required to review, sign and comply with the Company’s code of conduct regarding the ethical treatment of hens, which also requires employees to report any possible violations. The ARM video was taken by a former employee acting as an undercover activist, and he chose to disregard required farm procedures as part of his intent to misrepresent our efforts to provide proper care for our hens. The employee’s job included identifying and addressing the type of issues shown on the video, and he failed to meet his job requirements. The video depicts another employee deliberately mistreating a hen, and that employee was immediately terminated. Once the video was presented to us, we cooperated with the local sheriff’s department and officials from the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services in their investigation, and we provided them access to the Lake Wales facility. They reported they did not find comparable conditions to what was shown on the video. We believe that this was an isolated incident and does not reflect the ethical standards of animal care expected of all Cal-Maine Foods employees. Further, we continue to work with our animal welfare team to prevent this from happening in the future.
All of Cal-Maine Foods’ facilities are operated in full compliance with existing environmental, health and safety laws and regulations and permits. As a fully-integrated shell egg producer, all shell egg facilities are subject to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations and are subject to various state and local health and agricultural agencies.