06/08/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Turner, ME – A civil settlement between an animal rights group and Maine’s largest egg farm was reached Monday, June 7, 2010, and resulted in Maine Contract Farming agreeing to pay a total of $125,000 in penalties and fines, as reported by www.mpbn.net.
Maine Contract, the supplier of hens for the Quality Egg farm in Turner, admitted to 10 civil counts of animal cruelty for not providing hens with proper food and shelter in 2009. The farm owns five million hens.
The fines include a $2,500 penalty for each hen, equaling $25,000 total. The farm will also pay $100,000 to Maine’s Department of Agriculture for future monitoring of hen farms across the state. Maine Contract Farming has also taken several steps to improve treatment of birds in the facility.
The national nonprofit animal advocacy group, Mercy for Animals, called the settlement a “landmark” case against Quality Egg of New England. The advocacy organization filed a formal complaint against the farm with the Animal Welfare Program of the Maine Department of Agriculture in March 2009. The complaint asked for civil and criminal charges to be issued against the farm and its workers.
Mercy for Animals enlisted a representative to work for Quality Egg and secretly videotape the facility conditions between December 2007 and February 2008. The undercover operation resulted in the findings of “an ongoing pattern of cruelty to animals,” according to the group, where hens were not only kicked around, but the birds did not have access to any veterinary care or humane euthanasia. They were crammed into crowded pens and unclean conditions, including decomposed corpses and rotting egg remains with hens producing eggs for human consumption.
Maine Contract Farming Operations Manager Jay DeCoster issued a statement, explaining, “This agreement allows us to continue farming as our family has done for more than six decades…Our commitment to the care of our birds has never been a greater priority than it is today, and we are pleased to put this matter behind us so we can focus on the successful operation of our farm.”
Address: Turner, Maine
Phone: (866) 598-1315