September 10, 2009

Cruel Hatchery Invites PR Backlash

HyLineDebeaking.jpgYesterday, Hy-Line North America, the world's largest egg industry hatchery, where an undercover MFA investigator recently documented chicks being thrown, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, and dumped into a grinding machine while still alive, issued a media statement regarding the case.

After forking over cash to hire a national public relations firm specializing in "reputation management" (other clients of the firm include Smithfield, the world's largest pork producer), the best Hy-Line could offer was a watered down, nicely worded statement which said a whole lot of nothing - yet another example of a company caught red-handed abusing animals, and attempting to sanitize its cruel practices. But frankly, no one was buying it.  The Associated Press saw through Hy-Line's smoke and mirrors with this article that ran in hundreds of papers nationwide.

Even the meat industry saw through Hy-Line's PR statement. Cattle Network, "The Source for Cattle News," carried an article titled "Hy-Line Doesn't Quite Come Clean," which points out the red flags:

Hy-Line's statement said some practices depicted in the video didn't reflect the company's standard procedures. If you viewed the video, the practices seemed very practiced. The quick and efficient 'sexing' of chicks with the males flicked onto a conveyor looked as standard as you can get, unlike the video taken at Aviagen's turkey breeding facility last winter which showed out-of-control employees clearly crossing the line.

Hy-Line's statement said "corrective measures have been taken," but company officials won't elaborate. Another red flag just popped up. What measures?

We also hear how damaging the investigation has been to the entire poultry industry:

Time to be transparent, to come clean with what went wrong and exactly what's being done to right that wrong. It's not Hy-Line's problem; when the tape went viral, it became the industries' problem.

Cattle Network also offered some wise words to the entire industry, stating:

Bottom Line: If you're in the chicken, egg, beef, pork, turkey, veal or emu business and you don't immediately conduct a complete animal welfare audit and immediately make any changes that are necessary and proper, you're inviting Mercy for Animals or some similar group to do the job for you.

And you won't like what you'll see.

We couldn't have put it better ourselves. As long as the industries confine, mutilate, and abuse farmed animals, MFA will continue to expose the industries' cruel practices. And based on the response from the Hy-Line investigation, it's safe to say that the consumer public will continue to be shocked and outraged.
 
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