From 2002 to 2005, the majority of U.S. egg producers labeled their egg cartons with a logo that read “Animal Care Certified.” Despite the image conveyed by such a message, hens who were laying “Animal Care Certified” eggs were still subjected to abuses so terrible, they would lead to prosecution if forced on the dogs or cats with whom we share our homes.
In 2003, Animal Outlook filed legal petitions with federal agencies and the Better Business Bureau, alleging that these producers were engaged in misleading advertising. But this was just the beginning of our campaign.
Over the next two years, we investigated so-called “Animal Care Certified” egg farms, argued our case two times before the Better Business Bureau, lobbied federal agencies, produced damning media exposés, conducted consumer polls and public outreach, and even filed a lawsuit.
Our hard work paid off not only with nationwide media coverage of the abuses endured by so-called “Animal Care Certified” hens, but on September 30, 2005, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced that the United Egg Producers (UEP) deceptive logo would no longer be stamped on egg cartons nationwide, as soon as April 1, 2006.
This landmark victory received widespread media attention, including articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today and the Des Moines Register.
Despite all of these steps, the “Animal Care Certified” is still being used. In February 2008, we documented this misleading logo on egg cartons being sold in stores in New Jersey. Read about the consumer fraud lawsuit we filed in New Jersey in February 2008.
“Animal Care Certified” Campaign Timeline
May 2003: Animal Outlook investigators documented disturbing, yet standard, cruelty at an “Animal Care Certified” egg factory farm in Cecilton, Md.
June 2003: Animal Outlook filed a petition with the Better Business Bureau asserting that the UEP was engaging in false advertising by allowing its member producers to use an “Animal Care Certified” logo on their cartons. We launched EggScam.com, which is now EggIndustry.com.
November 2003: After weeks of filings submitted by both the UEP and Animal Outlook, the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Division ruled in our favor, stating that the “Animal Care Certified” logo is misleading and should be discontinued. The Associated Press ran a story on its national wire about the ruling.
November 2003: The UEP appealed the case to the Better Business Bureau’s National Advertising Review Board.
May 2004: The consumer protection organization affirmed its earlier ruling and stated the “Animal Care Certified” logo should be discontinued or modified.
May 2004: Animal Outlook investigators gathered evidence at another “Animal Care Certified” egg factory farm, this time in Millington, Md. Standard egg industry abuses were once again documented in video and photos.
July 15, 2004: Washington, D.C.’s ABC affiliate, WJLA, ran an exclusive I-Team report on the “Animal Care Certified” issue entitled “Egg Fraud.” The following day, WJLA’s affiliate, News Channel 8, did a 20-minute live interview with Paul Shapiro about the issue.
July 28 and August 4, 2004: New Jersey’s Twin-Boro News ran a two-part series on the “Animal Care Certified” controversy.
August 25, 2004: After determining that the UEP was not in compliance with the latest National Advertising Review Board’s ruling, the Better Business Bureau officially referred the case to the Federal Trade Commission for potential law enforcement action.
February 15, 2005: Animal Outlook and four egg consumers filed a lawsuit against two retailers and an egg producer alleging that the “Animal Care Certified” logo stamped on egg cartons deceives shoppers by conveying a false message of humane animal care.
February 2005: Animal Outlook investigators documented conditions inside Maryland’s three largest egg farms, two of which are “Animal Care Certified.” Conditions for hens on all three farms are strikingly similar.
May 24, 2005: Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), a ranking member of the House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection, which oversees the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), sent a letter on May 24, 2005, to FTC Chairman Deborah Majoras urging the commission to take action on a consumer protection matter involving the logo.
September 2005: Animal Outlook and Giant settle false advertising claims out of court. Giant agrees to remove the “Animal Care Certified” logo from its store brand egg cartons.
October 2005: The Federal Trade Commission announced that UEP will discontinue its use of the misleading “Animal Care Certified” logo.
March 31, 2006: This marks the last day the egg industry could use its deceptive “Animal Care Certified” logo per the agreement with the Federal Trade Commission.
September 21, 2006: UEP paid $100,000 to settle the claims of 16 state attorneys general offices and the District of Columbia attorney general that it engaged in false advertising relating to the use of its “Animal Care Certified” logo.
February 20, 2008: Animal Outlook and a New Jersey egg consumer filed a lawsuit against the UEP and ISE America, an egg factory farm in New Jersey, for the continued use of the misleading “Animal Care Certified” logo.