Wegmans Cruelty

15 Comments
Share

Compassionate Consumers has a new video available on DVD and for download titled Wegmans Cruelty. It focuses on the conditions at Wegmans’ egg plants and the treatment that the hens there receive. Wegmans makes use of the Animal Care Certified label, which, of course, is an industry-developed set of rules that mean absolutely nothing. Birds are still allowed to be crammed into battery cages, their beaks are still permitted to be burned off without painkiller, and they can be starved to force a new egg-laying cycle.

The video is very well-produced and while those of us that have seen all the standard factory farming videos won’t be surprised by what’s shown, it feels good to see members of Compassionate Consumers during the open rescue. They take care of some of the most neglected hens and do the job that Wegmans themselves won’t do: remove carcasses that had clearly been there for weeks from the cages.

The most powerful point in the video comes during a recorded phone conversation with a Wegmans representative that insists the company meets-and-exceeds animal care standards and that having sick or dead birds isn’t in their best financial interest. This conversation is the audio backdrop for video footage that shows exactly the opposite of everything the representative says.

So why did they target Wegmans? I imagine it’s because Wegmans is one of the companies that, when approached with this information and footage, may actually do something. They’ve been named the best place to work by Fortune and are generally considered to be good to both their employees and customers. They feature a nice selection of organic fruits and vegetables as well as fairly priced health and natural foods. Let’s just hope that they can extend their compassion and sense of fairness to their animals as well.

15 Responses to “Wegmans Cruelty”

  1. vegenaise

    I would like to hope that Wegmans would do something, but I have my doubts. Much of what you hear about Wegmans being such a fab employer is generally good PR, at least as far as I know from having talked to some folks who work there. Also, last I knew, Wegmans wasn’t unionized. They’d probably tell you that they don’t have to be since everyone is so happy, but didn’t WalMart try this spin too?

    I also watched Wegmans get aggressive about crushing out local competition in the health and organic sector one place where I lived.

    What we can best hope for is not that wegmans has a conscience, but that they’re afraid of bad PR.

  2. tanya

    Hmm…i can’t view any more of those videos.

    but double yay!! on the atkins bankruptcy. to think: i used to do that diet years ago. even then, after a few days i would just not eat becuase the thought of raising one more forkful of flesh to my mouth made me nauseous.

    i love being vegetarian part-time vegan. it gets easier every year. sometimes i’m shocked not everyone is vegetarian. i momentarily forget people still eat meat…isnt’ that crazy?

    probably more like wishful thinking…

  3. disappointed

    This is pretty absurd. The idea that every company that could possibly be in the public eye will be targeted for something they are doing to offend one activist group or another bothers me terribly. Are you really naive enough to believe that there are companies out there that don’t treat something poorly? You all seem like well educated people, for the most part. I serve the creator of this film regularly, and she seems a bit off kilter. However, I still believe that this is yet another far streach on behalf of a starving artist or lonely recluse to recieve attention. Wegman’s has done many cities a load of good. They provide substantial employment with competative benifits and wages. I couldn’t imagine shopping at an alternative grocery store.

    -Concerned student (RIT)

    PS
    I have no affiliation with Wegman’s, whatsoever, aside from being a customer of theirs.

  4. Ryan

    The idea that every company that could possibly be in the public eye will be targeted for something they are doing to offend one activist group or another bothers me terribly.

    Are you saying that companies shouldn’t be scrutinized and brought to task if something they’re marketing as humane and ethical isn’t so?

    Are you really naive enough to believe that there are companies out there that don’t treat something poorly?

    There aren’t many of them, but there are some.

    I serve the creator of this film regularly, and she seems a bit off kilter.

    Sounds like a baseless character attack with nothing to back it up.

    Wegman’s has done many cities a load of good. They provide substantial employment with competative benifits and wages.

    Yes, they have. But that doesn’t excuse them from marketing their eggs as being produced humanely when they simply aren’t.

  5. jason

    This all depends on your definition of the word “humane.” And there are six billion plus people in this world; we have greater problems to worry about than the welfare of a bunch of chickens. (I honestly tried to see it from compassionate consumers’ point of view but it’s just too warped for me.)

  6. Ryan

    we have greater problems to worry about than the welfare of a bunch of chickens.

    The thing is, they’re not just “a bunch of chickens.” They are hundreds of millions of individual chickens.

    Compassion for animals and compassion for humans are not mutually exclusive. Just because you show compassion towards an animal doesn’t mean you somehow have used up your quota.

  7. Danielle

    Jason, just so you know, there are 10 billion animals killed for food in the U.S. every year, 9 billion of whom are chickens. Most are probably for food, but I imagine some of those chickens killed every year are hens whose production has declined.

    Waste from CAFOs leaches into ground water, pollutes the air, and anyone who is unfortunate enough to live downwind from one of those plants has to deal with the fallout from them (I doubt they make the connection, though). Saying that human problems first is not only speciesist, but I can’t see how human problems are solved or mitigated by brutally killing animals for food.

  8. ace thomas

    Ummm brutally killing animals for food has gotten us this far, hasn’t it? Homo sapiens (us) first evolved roughly 100,000 years ago – not to mention the millions of years of evolution before that. The wide-spread idea of a chicken being anything other than a source of food is a (ridiculously) recent notion. And, quite frankly, wasting one’s energy “fighting” for the well-being of a chicken is a despicable and heartless act when there are billions of starving humans in the world. Most of the world can’t afford chicken as it is and would give anything for regular nourishment! The bottom line is chickens are food no matter how you spin it. If you have the money you go buy your cage-free eggs (of which Wegmans sells millions). If you don’t support cage-free then buy the cheap eggs. Wegmans will continue to sell both and I think this is reasonable! (Finally – “speciecism” is also a made-up notion. It doesn’t exist. Check your dictionary.)

  9. Ryan

    Ummm brutally killing animals for food has gotten us this far, hasn’t it?

    Maybe so, but to think that we need to continue to do so when there’s no physiological reason to do so is to be stuck in the distant past.

    The wide-spread idea of a chicken being anything other than a source of food is a (ridiculously) recent notion.

    And so is factory farming.

    Finally – “speciecism” is also a made-up notion. It doesn’t exist. Check your dictionary.

    Is Mirriam-Webster suitable? OK.

  10. Martin Gugino

    May I recommend a book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, regarding the sad sad state of American industrial farming. It is an eye-opener. It will help you see the range of possibilities, and help you form a political attitude on farming.

  11. AL

    Why do you guys always bring evolution into this? I eat meat because it tastes good. I dont support the cruelty of animals. Free range farming is the way to go. I agree that farming isnt “natural”. Computers arent natural either, but it seems that none of you are against them. If you guys want to truly live naturally, sell your computer and go live in a cave somewhere.

  12. Mike

    If we forecast our sociological and educational development far enough into the future, one can imagine a day when preservation of the plant kingdom will be based not only on it’s necessary ability to provide us with beauty, oxygen, recreation, and environment filtering and cleansing but on the discovery that just because we could not hear them with our own radically inferior human ears does not mean they were not crying out during every old forest logging, lawn mowing and harvesting activity we conduct.

    To stay rooted in our meat eating habit simply because things have always been that way is to become the walking dead in terms of true social growth.

    Does this sound too far fetched? I thought so. So, to me, does vegetarianism.

  13. Danielle

    AL, permit me to disabuse you of the notion that free-range is better than conventional. It’s not. The animals are not treated much better than conventionally raised animals. Furthermore, there’s no sustainable way to produce meat, dairy, and eggs for 280 million people (give or take a few million veg*ans) without it being prohibitively expensive.

    But if you eat meat because of your selfish appetites, be honest about it with yourself–I’m paying someone to kill animals to satisfy my appetites–and don’t try to justify it by suggesting the animals are worth less because they’ve been raised for food for a few centuries. And if you are here to irritate us, please stop.

  14. Noa

    Danielle, your second paragraph is spot on, but your first is dumb, you dont know anything about feeding 280 million people, so dont say it cant be done affordably.

    Also, I will pay more to eat my food with a NON-guilty consciounce.

    I know I cant spell, its 5pm and im out.

  15. ryan

    She’s saying it can’t be done affordably *and* sustainably. I would tend to agree with her.

Leave a Reply