U.S. store chain Costco is defending the practices of Hillandale Farms, a company that provides the chain with eggs. The two companies were targeted in a recent video released by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).
The video, shot at a Hillandale Farms facility, depicts scenes of hens that are not being treated according to Hillandale Farms’ animal welfare standards. Costco is challenged in the video to live up to its past pledge to move toward selling cage-free eggs.
In response to the video, Hillandale initiated an internal investigation. Costco, in a statement, said it also conducted an inspection of the facility, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
“Inspections that we have conducted there as recently as this week confirmed for us that Hillandale is behaving appropriately. Hillandale has identified some areas in which it believes it can improve, including process improvement and more training for its employees. We support these efforts,” Costco stated.
In its statement, Hillandale Farms says the video was shot by a former Hillandale Farms employee, who unknown to the company, was actually an undercover animal rights activist. Hillandale has also said that the person that shot the video was actually hired to prevent the types of incidents that were shown in the video from happening.
In response to pressure from HSUS about selling cage-free eggs, Costco noted that it sells more than 50 million dozen cage-free eggs annually, and over the last nine years has increased the number of organic and cage-free eggs it sold by more than twenty-fold.