WASHINGTON (PRNewswire) - The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has announced that the United Egg Producers' (UEP) "Animal Care Certified" logo will no longer be stamped on egg cartons nationwide. This decision ends the egg industry's three-year national advertising campaign that misled consumers concerned about animal cruelty.
The "Animal Care Certified" logo first came under scrutiny in June 2003, when Compassion Over Killing (COK) filed petitions with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the FTC, as well as other federal agencies, asserting that the logo is misleading. Under the "Animal Care Certified" guidelines, egg producers are permitted to intensively confine hens in "battery cages" so small they can't even spread their wings, among other abuses.
In 2003, and again upon appeal in 2004, the BBB deemed the "Animal Care Certified" logo misleading because it implied a greater level of humane care than is actually the case. Despite these rulings and the BBB's subsequent referral of the matter to FTC for potential legal action against the UEP, the logo continued to appear on cartons across the country-and consumers continued to be deceived.
According to the FTC, by March 31, 2006, the "Animal Care Certified" logo will be gone from grocery store shelves, and consumers can expect to find it replaced with an alternative logo reading "United Egg Producers Certified."
"This victory is important for both animals and consumers," explains COK Executive Director Erica Meier. "While the egg industry's husbandry guidelines still permit routine animal cruelty, at least the new logo will no longer convey a false message of humane animal care. The industry's next step should be to amend its guidelines to prohibit battery cages."
COK's two-year campaign to expose the truth behind the "Animal Care Certified" logo has included undercover investigations inside certified farms, media exposes, consumer polls and outreach, petitions, as well as the filing of a lawsuit in the District of Columbia Superior Court against two retailers and an egg producer for their continued use of the misleading logo.
Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a nonprofit animal advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C. Since 1995, COK has worked to end the abuse of animals in agriculture through undercover investigations, public outreach, litigation, and other advocacy programs.
Editor's note: According to United Egg Producers, the guidelines behind the logo ensured "that hens have scientifically recommended space, continuous access to fresh air and water, nutritious food, are kept clean, are protected from other hens, are transported in a safe and protected manner, and their overall welfare is promoted to the best of the producer’s ability." MoArk, LLC, the Neosho egg producer currently facing charges of animal cruelty, claims on their website to be a charter enrollee in the Animal Welfare Guidelines Certification Program created by the United Egg Producers.