Local Consumers Join Lawsuit Against Nellie’s ‘Free-Range’ Eggs

More Plaintiffs Add Their Names to False Advertising Claim Against Egg Supplier Whose Chicken Sheds Are 'Far From Humane'

For Immediate Release:
May 7, 2019

Contact:
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382

Various – PETA Foundation attorneys 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 who were misled into buying eggs sold under Pete and Gerry’s Nellie’s Free Range Eggs label—and local residents who purchased the eggs in good faith are new plaintiffs and proposed class representatives in the lawsuit.

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 of a Nellie’s egg supplier reveals 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 newly hatched male 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.

“These new plaintiffs represent the many compassionate, well-intentioned consumers who want to see this shameless egg supplier held accountable for misrepresenting the conditions that birds are forced to endure,” says PETA Foundation Deputy General Counsel for Animal Law Jared Goodman. “With their help, PETA looks forward to shutting down Nellie’s ‘happy hens’ deception.”

Last 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 human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

Plaintiffs who’ve joined the lawsuit come from cities including Davidson, North Carolina; Greenwich, New York; Lexington, Massachusetts; Petaluma, California; Waldorf, Maryland; and White, Georgia.

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