Protestors urge Safeway to adopt 'cage-free' egg policy

Mercy for Animals group claims support from other grocers

A group of 30 protestors from a national organization called Mercy for Animals (MFA) lined Stoneridge Mall Road in front of Safeway headquarters Monday calling on the grocery chain to adopt follow others in adopting a "cage-free" merchandising policy.

Jeni Haines, the group's national campaign coordinator, urged the company improve animal welfare by eliminating cages in its egg supply chain with a 100% cage-free egg policy for all its stores and affiliate grocers.

She said the group is making the same demands on Boise-based Albertsons, Safeway's corporate owner.

Protestors wielded signs bearing disturbing images of injured chickens trapped in cages and the message "Safeway Tortures Animals." The eye-catching protests in Pleasanton continued at Safeway stores Tuesday n San Jose and Wednesday in Sacramento.

"Stuffed into cages so small the birds can't walk, spread their wings, or engage in other natural behaviors, hens on egg factory farms are subjected to unspeakable cruelty and neglect," Haines said.

"Each bird has less floor space than the size of a sheet of notebook paper," she added. "Many birds become trapped and painfully mangled in the cage wire or under feed trays. Dead hens are often left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption."

The protest group claims that Safeway's competitors, including Target and Costco, and McDonald's and Starbucks, have already made public commitments to eliminating cages. In fact, MFA contends, nearly 100 other major restaurants, retailers, food manufacturers, and food service companies have pledged to go cage-free.

Since the launch of MFA's campaign just a week ago, MFA's president Nathan Runkle said more than 30,000 consumers have signed petitions urging Safeway to go cage-free.

Drivers honked in support of Haines and her group standing on Stoneridge Mall Road Monday, but no representatives from Safeway mete with the group during its two hour demonstration.

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20 people like this
Posted by It's for your health too
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 11, 2016 at 7:30 am

The issues of cruelty to the chickens is bad enough but what consumers fail to realize is the health hazard to those who eat the eggs. Chickens kept in those conditions are not healthy and even healthy chickens can carry salmonella in their waste. Chickens are penned into tiers of racks that allow for the bodily waste to fall through the cages onto the chickens -- AND THE EGGS -- below them. Although commercial eggs are washed (thereby removing the protective layer on the egg and making it even MORE likely that germs will get in) it is quite common for people to get salmonella from eating them.

When battery caged chickens are through laying, after about two years, they are destroyed. How is that done? Generally, they are simply removed from the cages and thrown into a pit outside. As more chickens are thrown on top, those on the bottom suffocate until eventually they are ground up -- some still alive -- for pet food or simply to be put into landfill.

Do you really need to save a buck so badly that you will buy cheaper eggs from chickens that have been raised in this manner? If we were talking about treating dogs and cats this way I know the answer to that question without asking it. Why is it OK to treat ANY animal like this?

17 people like this
Posted by Valleygirl
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Feb 11, 2016 at 10:11 am

This is a great cause, as this is something I can stand behind.
Thank-you Jeni Haines for coordinating this event.
The next stop is to eliminate pesticides sprayed in our parks and outlying areas.
My belief is to go back to the simpler way of life, not as many packaged foods, plastics, and reducing consumption so we have a better quality of life.

12 people like this
Posted by sTEVE
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Feb 11, 2016 at 1:28 pm

didn't Proposition 2 make it a law on the size of cages? Why did this person make sure comments like
"Each bird has less floor space than the size of a sheet of notebook paper," she added. "Many birds become trapped and painfully mangled in the cage wire or under feed trays.

These comments seem misleading in the present time.

2 people like this
Posted by kbenson
a resident of Bordeaux Estates
on Feb 11, 2016 at 9:16 pm

The safeway on Santa Rita had a sign by the egg section. They apologized for the high price of eggs ($5 per dozen or more) and explained it was related to the change over to cage-free.
Eggs still expensive and I see no change (except sign is gone)

15 people like this
Posted by Lynn
a resident of Oak Hill
on Feb 12, 2016 at 11:16 am

With all the problems in the world right now, I find it hard to believe that 30 people find this to be their number 1 complaint, at least enough to stage a protest? I'm worried about paying for my kids' college tuition so they aren't buried by student loan debt when they get out of school. I also lose sleep trying to figure out how to pay my ever increasing healthcare premiums and praying that no one winds up in the hospital because of our high deductible. This seems like such a first world problem, what about low income people that can't afford to spend $7 on a carton of eggs? Besides we already voted on this issue and now we all pay more. SMH

6 people like this
Posted by Just wondering
a resident of Del Prado
on Feb 13, 2016 at 9:05 am

I wonder if these same protesters care as much for the unborn babies as they do for chickens. Treating any animal with cruelty is wrong and I support their cause. Animals must be treated kindly and not abused. But I'm just wondering what is their belief in the unborn child?

8 people like this
Posted by Not A just a chic
a resident of Vineyard Hills
on Feb 13, 2016 at 10:12 am

Lynn, I too worry about how to keep up with rising costs of living, however my brain and my heart have the capacity to worry and care about more than one issue at a time. I do not believe animals should be subject to cruel treatment for our benefit. I am happy these issues are being brought to light so I can make better informed decisions at the grocery store.

10 people like this
Posted by BobB
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Feb 13, 2016 at 11:40 am

"But I'm just wondering what is their belief in the unborn child?"

I the "unborn child" is a human embryo or blastocyst (for instance within 3 weeks of fertilization) then I personally am more worried about the welfare of grown chickens or guinea pigs, because they are sentient beings, not just masses of insentient cells.

2 people like this
Posted by Pete
a resident of Downtown
on Feb 13, 2016 at 12:00 pm

I couldn't care less as long as they keep the price down. Just an animal and has no soul.

I do however care deeply for the rights of human unborn.

6 people like this
Posted by Jose Jimenez
a resident of Ruby Hill
on Feb 15, 2016 at 7:47 pm

Hey......we eat free range chicken eggs all the time in Mexico then we ring their necks eat the chickens too !!!! what's the problem ?

2 people like this
Posted by Animal Guy
a resident of Birdland
on Feb 17, 2016 at 5:57 pm

Two objections that come up in EVery animal welfare conversation are variations on the following:

1 -- you should worry about something else, and
2 -- BUT embryos!

My answer is that you Do Not disparage somebody else's ethical issue. It needn't be yours, but you do need to respect it. It IS a very big deal to folks who have the good sense to not be overly impressed with our species, and whose concept of empathy can include other sentient beings -- fellow travelers on the planet.

This is hardly new -- as the great philosopher Jeremy Bentham famously said: "the point is not whether they can think -- it's whether they can suffer." And they do suffer, horribly in factory farms and elsewhere.

Further, for any benighted individual who believes that 'it doesn't matter because animals have no soul' -- what does that even mean? It sounds to me like some quasi-religious nonsense brought to us by the "dominion over the animals" folks. But quite the contrary of being a basis for not caring, that 'dominion' raises a stewardship obligation in we who control the place, to not let the powerless under our control suffer.

There is also Plenty of solid research to the effect than many animals share our moral and ethical space -- that "nature red in tooth and claw" is convenient mythology. Finally, if you can look into a dog's eyes and conclude it has no soul, your eyes, and heart, need to be adjusted (and not its soul).

As to those who believe we must solve EVERY human problem -- including abortion, before we care about ANYthing else, that's just nonsense. We have the freedom to choose our issues. You may no more choose mine for me than dictate how I must to feel about abortion.

Have your own issues, and godspeed -- but don't you dare condescend to disparage mine.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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