Activists call for more honesty in packages and for the end of the confinement of animals in cages
Bogotá, February 18, 2020: An exclusive video and a report called “The cruelty hidden in the packages,” launched today by the international NGO Sinergia Animal, revealed the conditions of laying hens for an egg brand marketed by Grupo Éxito, the largest retailer in Colombia and owner of the brands Almacenes Éxito, Carulla, Surtimax, Super Inter, and Surti Mayorista. While the packaging of its supplier, Santa Anita Nápoles, highlights a “100% Natural” and “from the field to your home” product, the images show animals crammed in dirty cages and experiencing intense suffering.
The recordings show the coordinates of places located in the municipalities of Pradera (Valle del Cauca) and Baranoa (Atlántico). The hens appear to be crowded, in dirty cages, and in a state of visible suffering. The video exposes how birds have lost their feathers and how some of the animals have lost their lives. The abuse also occurs during transportation, where the hens appear to be in small containers, exposed to the weather, and in groups so numerous that they prevent movement and cause death.
“We urgently ask Grupo Éxito to investigate more closely the packaging and the slogan that its suppliers are using,” said Carolina Galvani, president of Sinergia Animal. "The images are self-explanatory: this system has absolutely nothing '100% natural,' since it deprives animals of their habitats and prevents them from carrying out practically all their natural behaviors that are important for the species. It is time for Éxito to put an end to this problem and declare the end of the cages in its supply chain," she added.
The NGO also requests, as an immediate measure, that the egg-producing companies Santa Anita Nápoles and Grupo Éxito assume their responsibilities and stop using marketing strategies that do not correspond to reality on their packaging. "It is unacceptable to sell eggs with images of free hens in green fields when, in reality, these hens are confined in small and cruel metal cages," says Galvani.
Lower standards in Colombia
The entity's request to Grupo Éxito is related to lower standards in the commercialization of eggs in Colombia. The French company Groupe Casino, the owner of Grupo Éxito, has already announced a cage-free egg policy with a deadline of 2025 to stop the sale of eggs from caged chickens in all of its products and supermarket chains. However, the company's commitment was only partially replicated, with lower parameters, in Colombia.
In its Colombian commitment, Éxito is undertaking the effort to stop selling caged hen eggs in its own brands starting from the year 2020. For the other suppliers, that is, third-party brands, the company affirms that it will work with a certification that is being developed by Fenavi (National Federation of Poultry Farmers of Colombia), with an implementation date expected for 2028. For its part, Fenavi has made no concrete promise that the certification criteria will include the ban on cages.
In Colombia, about 30 companies have already announced a commitment to sell and use only cage-free eggs. Recognized brands such as Colombina, Levapan, Jeno’s Pizza, Pan Pa’ Ya, Crepes & Waffles, Juan Valdez, and Oma have already joined this trend that also includes international giants such as Nestlé, Mondelez International, Unilever, Kraft Heinz, Burger King, and McDonald’s.
Since August 2019, Sinergia Animal has advanced a campaign aimed at Grupo Éxito. The online petition published on the Change platform already aggregates more than 48,000 signatures. At the same time, peaceful actions have been carried out at the headquarters and supermarket offices located in Bogotá, Cali, and the municipality of Antioquia. “Obtaining this number of signatures in our petition in only six months means that consumers are not willing to accept eggs from caged hens and demand the same policies as European consumers,” Galvani analyzes.
*** PDF report with references available here.
*** High-resolution images available here.
*** Original video (no text) available here.
About Sinergia Animal
Sinergia Animal is an international organization that works in the countries of the Global South to help animals in the food industry and promote more compassionate diets. The NGO is recognized as one of the most effective in the world by the renowned Animal Charity Evaluators (ACE).