COK's "Animal Care Certified" Lawsuit
COK Takes Egg Industry to Court for Consumer Fraud
March 31, 2006 marked the last day the United Egg Producers (UEP) could advertise its deceptive “Animal Care Certified” logo. Starting April 1, 2006, all claims and logos relating to “Animal Care Certified” were to be removed from all advertisements, including egg cartons—at least according to two agreements that the industry trade group signed with the Federal Trade Commission as well as with Attorneys General in 16 states and the District of Columbia.
Almost two years after the agreed-upon deadline, COK documented egg cartons bearing the “Animal Care Certified” logo being sold on stores shelves in New Jersey. Further evidence obtained by COK revealed more widespread violations: the “Animal Care Certified” logo was also being marketed on egg cartons in New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and Delaware. The packaging on these cartons identified the eggs’ origin: ISE America in New Jersey, an egg factory farm and packing plant with more than one million hens confined inside barren wire battery cages.
COK Exposes Cruel Conditions inside ISE America
In 2007, a COK investigator worked inside ISA America’s facility in New Jersey painstakingly documenting the day-to-day miseries forced upon these caged birds. As the undercover video reveals, the horrific conditions in this egg factory farm are a far cry from what most consumers would consider “Animal Care Certified.” The footage shows birds overcrowded in cages, severely decomposed birds left in cages with live birds, ill birds denied individual veterinary care, and hens stuck in between the wires of their cages, unable to access food or water.
COK Takes Action to Stop Continued Use of Misleading Logo
On Feb 20, 2008, Compassion Over Killing (COK) and an egg consumer filed a lawsuit in the Middlesex County Superior Court of New Jersey against the industry trade group United Egg Producers (UEP) and ISE America, a New Jersey egg factory farm, alleging violations of consumer protection laws based on the continued use of the misleading “Animal Care Certified” logo on egg cartons. COK is represented by Egert & Trakinksi, a law firm specializing in animal protection issues.
COK has filed additional complaints with both the New Jersey and New York Attorneys General alerting them to the continued use of the claim and urging them to take action on behalf of consumers in their states.
“The continued and widespread use of the misleading ‘Animal Care Certified’ logo demonstrates a blatant disregard for the federal and state agencies that have been involved in this matter and for consumers’ right not to be deceived,” states Cheryl Leahy, general counsel for Compassion Over Killing. “Looking at its notorious record on both animal cruelty and consumer fraud, it’s clear that the egg industry has again proven that it’s simply incapable of regulating itself.”