An animal rights group today claimed that an undercover investigation has revealed "extreme animal abuse" and unsanitary conditions at a major regional egg supplier.
The Humane Society of the United States said in a statement its investigation into the Pennsylvania-based Kreider Farms facilities uncovered "injured and dead hens, including mummified bird carcasses" living inside the same cages as live hens who lay eggs for human consumption as well as chickens who had their heads, legs or wings trapped in cage wires and feeding machinery.
Undercover video allegedly shot at Kreider Farms and provided by the Humane Society appears to show birds lying dead among the crowded cages of live chickens.
A previous investigation by ABC News into another egg-producing farm company, Sparboe Farms, revealed such unsanitary conditions that major customers, including McDonald's and Target, dropped Sparboe as their supplier.
The Humane Society said Kreider Farms, headquartered in southeast Pennsylvania, is home to close to seven million egg-laying hens. On its website, Kreider Farms says that number is closer to five million and says the farms are dedicated to being "stewards of the land, operating clean, efficient and state-of-the-art facilities and creating a work environment of openness, honesty, trust, and personal satisfaction." The Humane Society estimates there are a total of 280 million egg-laying hens in the United States.
The family-owned company has been the recipient of the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association's Excellence in Food Safety award, according to its website.
Videos available on the website show what appear to be much cleaner conditions for the hens compared to the undercover footage and claim, contrary to the Humane Society report, that the chickens have plenty of room to stretch out in their cages.
Kreider Farms Vice President Tom Beachler told ABC News the Humane Society's allegations are "false and misleading."
"The allegations by [the Humane Society] are a gross distortion of Kreider Farms, our employees and the way we care for our birds," the company's president, Ron Kreider, said in a separate statement. "We are leading the industry by tearing down old, traditional-style egg houses and replacing them with new, state-of-the-art facilities. More than 80 percent of our chickens are housed in larger, modern cages."
Kreider went on to say the company had no evidence the undercover video footage was taken inside Kreider Farms and said three chicken houses were inspected Wednesday by inspectors "including from the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine." All received a "clean bill of health."