Sparboe Farms Faces False Advertising Claims Following Undercover Animal Cruelty Investigation

Animal Rights Group Files Federal Trade Commission Complaint Citing Egg Producer's False and Misleading Animal Welfare Claims

Dec 01, 2011, 10:00 ET from Mercy For Animals




MINNEAPOLIS, Dec. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- The embroiled Minnesota-based egg factory farm that found itself at the center of a national animal cruelty expose earlier this month, prompting McDonald's, Target and other retailers to the drop the company, is again under attack for lying to and deceiving customers with false and misleading claims about its animal welfare practices. Today, Mercy For Animals, the animal protection organization that conducted the undercover animal cruelty investigation into Sparboe Farms, will file an official complaint with the Federal Trade Commission outlining how the egg producer has violated federal advertising laws by falsely claiming it "ensures" hens "freedom to express normal behavior," and "freedom from fear and distress," "discomfort," and "pain, injury or disease."

The FTC complaint and broadcast-quality footage from MFA's undercover investigation at eight Sparboe sites in Minnesota, Iowa, and Colorado will be distributed at a news conference this morning in Minneapolis.

Date: Thursday, December 1, 2011

Time: 11:00 a.m.

Location: The Westin Minneapolis (Lakes Room), 88 South 6th St., Minneapolis, MN

MFA's investigation and the FTC complaint clearly show that Sparboe's animal welfare claims are patently untrue and amount to blatant false advertising. Hidden-camera footage recorded by an MFA investigator at Sparboe facilities documents:

  • Hens crammed into filthy wire cages with less space for each bird than a standard-sized sheet of paper to live her entire miserable life, unable to freely stretch her wings, or engage in most other natural behaviors
  • Workers burning off the beaks of young chicks without any painkillers
  • Rotted hens, decomposed beyond recognition as birds, left in cages with hens still laying eggs for human consumption
  • A worker tormenting a bird by swinging her around in the air while her legs were caught in a grabbing device
  • Chicks trapped and mangled in cage wire – others suffering from open wounds and torn beaks
  • Live chicks thrown into plastic bags to be suffocated

Among the most flagrant claims made by Sparboe is that the company "ensures" hens the "freedom to express normal behavior." Unfortunately, as MFA's FTC complaint details, hens confined at Sparboe Farms live crammed together inside tiny wire cages where each bird is given less floor space than a notebook-sized piece of paper to live out nearly her entire miserable life. In such extreme confinement, the animals are unable to freely spread their wings, walk, run, perch, roost, dust-bathe, build nests, forage for food, or engage in other normal behaviors. Such caged confinement systems are so cruel they have been banned by the entire European Union, as well as California and Michigan.

"Not only is this factory farm responsible for egregious and systemic cruelty to animals, it is now also guilty of consumer fraud and deception," said Nathan Runkle, executive director of MFA. "Mercy For Animals is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to protect consumers and animals from Sparboe's foul practices."

For more information about the investigation, visit

SOURCE Mercy For Animals