The C.E.O. of the Iowa Egg Council says producers in the state are not using inhumane production practices, despite what was shown in an undercover video shot by the group Mercy for Animals at the Hy-Line plant in Spencer. The video showed male chicks being separated out and being thrown into a grinder.
Kevin Vinchattle says the methods used to destroy male baby chicks as part of the egg production process are approved and standard operating procedure in the industry. He says there is no market for the male chicks.
"We’re in egg production, and boys don’t lay eggs and girls do, and so if you could tell in the shell which was going to be a male and which was going to be a female, you’d never even incubate the male eggs and they would get diverted to different use. Right now we don’t have the ability to do that," Vinchattle says.
He says the male chicks don’t have enough meat on them to be economical as a meat bird, and the euthanasia process is designed to be instantaneous and that is accepted by the industry in the U.S. and Europe.
Vinchattle says Hy-Line North America has always been a good producer, and follows proper and humane practices in their production. For that reason, Hy-Line has started an investigation, and they are questioning the video that shows inappropriate actions. Vinchattle says this is not the first time Mercy for Animals has done an undercover video and says some groups have people who go across the country shooting videos. "My understanding is it’s not always depicting things exactly as it happened that some things may in fact be more or less staged, and you can only determine that on a case-by-case basis," Vin Schittle says.
He says in the Hy-Line case they need to check things out and find out if the video is reality. Vinchattle says Mercy for Animals is a vegetarian group whose agenda is to destroy the animal agriculture industry. He says they are not sure who is funding the organization.
See the Mercy for Animals video here.