Vital Farms Claims Humane Treatment of Chickens—PETA Foundation Lawyers Help File Class Action Lawsuit

Published by Michelle Feinberg.

You may have heard of Vital Farms eggs—you may have even spent upwards of $7 on a dozen of the brand’s eggs because of boasts it makes in the packaging. Well, we’re not buying it, and neither should you. PETA has assisted misled consumers in filing a class action lawsuit against Vital Farms, Inc., because of the company’s allegedly false claims that it treats animals in an ethical and humane manner.

Chicks Are Slaughtered and Hens Are Debeaked for Egg Production

Male chickens don’t lay eggs and therefore can’t be exploited for them. Dropping live chicks from a conveyor belt into a grinder is an industry-standard way of disposing of them. The lawsuit alleges the following:

  • Vital Farms obtains hens from hatcheries that kill all male chicks at birth.

    Mercy for Animals
    Imagery reflects typical U.S. farm practices
  • Vital Farms supports the burning or cutting off of hens’ highly sensitive beaks, an industry-standard practice performed to prevent stressed, severely crowded, confined hens from pecking at each other—which wouldn’t be an issue if they had adequate living conditions, including enough space.

    Mercy for Animals
    Imagery reflects typical U.S. farm practices
  • The birds at Vital Farms suppliers are kept in conditions that cause many of them to spend most or all their time indoors—not in “pastures,” as the company would lead you to believe with the words and images displayed on its products.

this is how chickens raised for cage-free eggs really live © iStock.com/takobchaiprakobkit

Hens Are Forced to Lay Far More Eggs Than They Naturally Would

The consumers are also alleging that Vital Farms causes hens to lay far more eggs than they naturally would, taxing their bodies and leading to health issues such as osteoporosis. Based on admissions made by Vital Farms’ founder and executive chair, Matthew O’Hayer, the consumers also allege that when hens stop laying enough eggs to be profitable, they’re sold to pet food companies and killed for cheap meat, likely right alongside hens raised in factory farms. Despite all this, Vital Farms deceptively touts its “humane treatment of farm animals” in every carton, alongside photos that misleadingly show hens free to roam on green grass.

© Aitor Garmendia / Tras los Muros
Stock image

Using Chickens for Eggs Isn’t Humane

More than 99% of hens used for food in the U.S. live on farms where workers cut off the tips of their sensitive beaks with a hot blade before cramming the birds into filthy sheds. They never get to breathe fresh air or feel the sun on their backs until they’re loaded into a transport truck heading for slaughter. The hens get lung lesions, ammonia burns, and breast blisters from sitting on urine- and feces-covered floors. “Organic,” “pasture-raised,” “cage-free,” “free-range,” and factory farms typically use the same slaughterhouses, where birds are hung upside down and their throats are cut. Many of them are still conscious and can feel pain when they’re submerged in the scalding-hot water of the defeathering tanks.

Stock image

The very idea that hens exist to provide humans with eggs is speciesist. Even at $7 per dozen, which is more than twice the cost of other brands, Vital Farms eggs are the product of pain and suffering. They come from gentle and curious hens who are confined, tormented, and ultimately killed. There is no retirement home for “spent” birds who are exploited for food—including for “backyard eggs” and eggs sold at farmers markets. It’s all about profit. As soon as the animals can’t “pay rent” anymore, it’s off to the slaughterhouse for them. Being vegan is the only ethical way to eat, and no compassionate consumer should be duped by marketing gimmicks that claim otherwise.

Anyone who cares about animals needs to make the connection: There is no humane way to exploit them.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind