Pa. Dept of Ag inspects egg farm

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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MANHEIM, Pa. – The egg production facility owned by Kreider Farms in Manheim, Pa., which is the latest subject of an undercover video investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), got a positive evaluation from the Pennsylvania Dept. of Agriculture.

Secretary George Greig wrote in a statement, “The state veterinarian visited and inspected the entire Kreider Farms Manheim facility on two occasions over the past three days. All practices, procedures and conditions that our veterinarian observed were consistent with industry best practices. Kreider Farms has passed every state inspection over the past five years, showing high and consistent standards of flock health management, above PEQAP standards.”

The HSUS video, which was released April 12, depicted:

• Birds severely overcrowded in cages more cramped than the national average; each hen received only 54–58 sq. in. of space on which to spend her life.

• Injured and dead hens, including mummified bird carcasses, were found inside cages with living hens laying eggs for human consumption.

• Hens left without water for days when a water source malfunctioned, causing many to die.

• Hens' legs, wings, and heads trapped in cage wires and automated feeding machinery.

• A thick layer of dead flies on the barn floors that caused a crunching sound when walking on it.

According to Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS, “This new exposé underscores why we need a minimum federal standard for the housing of laying hens. Our investigation shows that major egg producers can just go their own way, ignore even the most modest industry standards, and cause incredible stress and harm to birds.”

Ron Kreider, president and chief executive offiver, and Kreider Farms’ third-generation family leader defends his facility and the standards in which his animals are raised. He stated, “Inspections from state and third-party experts returned glowing reports of our current facilities. Additionally, these comprehensive audits recognized our excellent ratings over the past five years. There is zero evidence of any type of animal abuse or food safety concern at Kreider Farms.

“These results confirm what we’ve maintained since the beginning: The allegations by HSUS are unfounded – completely untrue. Our chicken houses are and have been professionally managed at the highest levels, and our birds are well-cared for, healthy and active.

“HSUS’s video demonstrates no connection to Kreider Farms – it could have been taped at any chicken house. The day these allegations broke, we welcomed television cameras immediately inside our chicken houses. Viewers observed that conditions in our facilities bear no resemblance to the HSUS video. Consumers should question how these videos were shot, edited and assembled.

“It is not a coincidence that this video release coincides with the political debate over egg production standards. We believe HSUS is targeting farms not affiliated with the United Egg Producers (UEP), its partner in petitioning for new standards. Kreider Farms is not a member of UEP, but we are in good standing with the US Poultry & Egg Association. We fully support such legislation, contrary to HSUS claims. More than 80 percent of our birds are already housed in state-of-the-art facilities – we would have the least to do to comply.”

Kreider Farms has 5 million egg laying chickens, according to its website. In addition to a facility in Manheim, the family-run farm has chicken houses in other Lancaster County, Pa., locations, including Mount Joy, Middletown and Mount Pleasant.

“Kreider Farms is one of the most highly respected, progressive egg companies in the US,” Kreider concluded. “My grandparents founded Kreider Farms in 1935. Today our family continues the mission of delivering high-quality products; to be good stewards of the land; and to operate clean, efficient, modern facilities.”

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