Target Joins McD's in Ditching Egg Supplier

Mercy for Animals released undercover footage of animal cruelty at the farms of Minnesota-based Sparboe Farms

By BJ Lutz
|  Saturday, Nov 19, 2011  |  Updated 2:23 PM CDT
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Target Joins McD's in Ditching Egg Supplier

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Target has joined Oak Brook-based McDonald's in ditching a Midwestern egg supplier after undercover video showed employees abusing hens.

The hidden camera footage made by a group called Mercy for Animals shows hens at Sparboe Farms locations being crammed into wire cages, workers burning the beaks of young chicks without pain killers, live chicks thrown into plastic bags and workers tormenting the animals.

Minneapolis-based Target said late Friday it was discontinuing its business relationship with Sparboe Farms and was in the process of pulling the company's eggs from Target shelves.

"Target is committed to delivering outstanding quality and uncompromising safety with every owned-brand food product. We expect and rely on our vendors to operate facilities that meet industry standards and regulatory requirements," the company said in a statement.

WARNING: THE FOLLOWING VIDEO CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES OF ANIMAL CRUELTY. WATCH WITH CAUTION.

McDonald's, in announcing that it was dropping the supplier, said the "behavior on tape is disturbing and completely unacceptable."

Sparboe Farms President Beth Sparboe Schell agreed, and said in a video posted to a new company website that the actions are "inconsistent with out values as farmers and violate our animal care policies and procedures."

Sparboe Schell said the employees identified in the video, first obtained by ABC News, have been fired. She said an internal investigation was ongoing.

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