The Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS) continued its campaign against IHOP’s use of eggs laid by hens confined in battery cages.

The society launched a television ad campaign in California, home of IHOP and its parent company DineEquity Inc., denouncing the breakfast chain and its use of eggs from supplier Michael Foods.

“IHOP exclusively uses eggs from hens confined in barren battery cages so small, the birds can’t even spread their wings,” says Paul Shapiro, senior director of the factory farming campaign at the HSUS, in e-mail comments to QSR. “Each hen laying eggs for the company has less space than a single sheet of paper to spend her entire life. Animal welfare scientists, consumers, food safety organizations, and sustainability groups are opposed to this cruel and inhumane practice.”

According to Shapiro, the HSUS is asking IHOP to switch to at least partial use of cage-free eggs, as several major chains, including Quiznos, Wendy’s, and Burger King, have done.

“It’s understandable that changes in large restaurant chains can’t happen overnight, which is why we applaud restaurants for taking steps in the right direction,” Shapiro says. “In IHOP’s case, the company exclusively uses eggs from caged hens [in] extreme confinement that consumers find unacceptable and that’s fast becoming illegal in the U.S.”

Both California and Michigan have passed statewide propositions that mandate the eventual phase-out of the use of battery cages on egg farms.

As a response to the HSUS campaign, Dan Ischy, senior manager of communications for IHOP, provided the following statement to QSR: “IHOP is against animal cruelty and has supplier standards in place to ensure the dignified, humane treatment of animals. We support additional studies to be conducted by the Coalition for a Sustainable Egg Supply (CSES) on how best to house hens and remain open to the scientific-based outcomes of these reports. The objective of CSES is a balanced and holistic evaluation of egg production including environmental impact, food safety and affordability, workplace safety, and animal care and well-being.”

By Sam Oches

News, IHOP