PETA Video Reveals Packed Sheds, Restricted Outdoor Access—While Nellie's Egg Cartons Show Green Fields, 'Happy' Hens
For Immediate Release:
March 7, 2019
David Perle 202-483-7382
New York – PETA Foundation attorneys have filed a class-action lawsuit in New York federal court against Pete and Gerry’s Organics, LLC, and Nellie’s Free Range Eggs on behalf of consumers—including some based in New York—who were misled into buying eggs sold under Pete and Gerry’s Nellie’s Free Range Eggs label.
The lawsuit details how Nellie’s cartons depict hens enjoying vast, lush grassy fields and include claims such as “We love our hens, you’ll love our eggs.” The brand makes similar claims on its website. Yet PETA eyewitness video footage from a Nellie’s egg supplier reveals that that around 20,000 hens were crammed into a single crowded shed with severely restricted access to the outdoors—which they could reach only by fighting their way to hatchways. The hens had just 1.2 square feet of floor space each—which is barely larger than their bodies—and the tips of their beaks were seared or cut off to prevent aggressive behavior and cannibalism caused by the stress of living in such crowded conditions. Nellie’s also condones its suppliers’ practice of killing all male newborn chicks. After they’ve been prematurely depleted of calcium—after only 13 months of egg-laying—the scared hens are sold to be painfully killed at slaughterhouses and live markets alongside their supposedly less fortunate factory-farmed peers.
“Well-intentioned consumers are being duped by pictures of hens in open green fields into taking home the very products of crowding and misery that they paid higher prices to avoid,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “The only truly cruelty-free label is ‘vegan,’ and PETA and compassionate consumers hope to see an end to Nellie’s ‘happy hens’ deception.”
In the fall, PETA released a reaction video in which Whole Foods shoppers who’d bought Nellie’s eggs watched PETA’s eyewitness video footage. The viewers responded by saying that they felt “betrayed” and that the company’s marketing claims were “false advertising,” “really deceptive,” “really f*cked up,” “disgusting,” and “another big lie.”
The plaintiffs are also represented by Jeanne M. Christensen and Julia L. Elmaleh-Sachs, attorneys at Wigdor LLP, a New York–based law firm that has won landmark victories for victims of false advertising, racial and gender-based discrimination, and harassment.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a supremacist view of the world. For more information, please visit PETA.org.