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Contact: Aidan Cook,, (720) 313-4249

Records Show Thousands of Hens Dying Each Week at “Certified Humane” Farm

April 17, 2017,  Denver, CO – Today, the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) released an investigation featured on leading social news site NowThis into a “Certified Humane” cage-free egg supplier to Sprouts’ Farmers Market, the natural grocery chain. The investigation, which occurred over 9 months at Morning Fresh Farms in Platteville, CO, found chickens starving to death en masse due to an inability to access food and water -- in stark contrast to Sprouts’ “Certified-Humane” requirements for all of its cage-free suppliers, which expressely state that hens must have “unlimited access to food and fresh water.” The DxE activists say this and other investigations of purportedly high-welfare farms show the inherent violence in using animals for food.

“Sprouts and other boutique grocery stores have made their name off of the marketing of animal products as ‘humane,’” said DxE investigator Alexis Low. “But every farm we have investigated shows that these claims are an outright lie. There is violence behind every egg, no matter the label.”

Morning Fresh Farms in Platteville, CO supplies caged and cage-free eggs to several brands sold at Sprouts’, including Egglands’ Best and Land-O-Lakes. The farm is certified by United Egg Producers (UEP), an industry group. UEP itself says that rates of starvation are higher on cage-free farms than on traditional battery cage farms, but that hasn’t stopped Sprouts’ and other farms for pushing these eggs as more humane, and selling them at a premium. This is DxE’s first investigation into a Sprouts supplier, but previous investigations into Whole Foods farms have found similarly alarming conditions. Regardless of these finding, federal agencies such as the USDA, which regulates animal agriculture, have shifted towards allowing nearly any animal product to be labeled as “humane.”

While the investigators were documenting the abuse at the farm, they saw a bird (later named “Annie” by the investigators) sprawled out on the ground next to several other dead birds. Because she could not access food, Annie had long ago had to resort to eating off of the feces-covered ground, and her beak had been sealed shut with dried feces. Starved and dehydrated, Annie was on the brink of death. The investigators felt morally compelled to remove Annie and bring her to a veterinarian immediately.

“Sprouts absolutely needs to be held accountable for what happens on their farms,” argued DxE investigator Hana Low, who now cares for Annie at their Denver home. “Every single bird we encountered in that farm was barely more than skin and bones. They flocked to us each time we entered, desperately hoping for food.”

DxE activists have held demonstrations in over 30 countries and over 160 cities worldwide. Protests are planned at Sprouts locations around the country this month in support of this investigation.

Access DxE’s full press folder, including extensive video of the farm, here.

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a network of animal rights activists across the world.  We use creative protest to challenge the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment.  Visit Direct Action Everywhere on Facebook and at  Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.




  • “Consumers would absolutely be shocked if they knew what Sprouts was selling as ‘humane.’” said DxE Investigator Aidan Cook. “People are paying extra for the worst suffering I have ever seen.”

  • “The first thing that hit me when I went in was the sheer number of hens crammed into each shed,” said nurse and DxE investigator Hana Low. “Worse, every single bird we examined was starved to the brink of death.”

  • “The rate of starvation inside that Sprouts farm could only be explained by one of two things: staggering incompetence, or an even more frightening level of apathy towards the suffering of animals,” said DxE investigator Alexis Low.



See a gallery of photos from the investigation and download them all as a zip file here. For b-roll video, click here. For key clips from each stage of the investigation and rescue, click here.



Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a grassroots network of animal rights activists. Starting in the San Francisco Bay Area in late 2013, DxE has since grown to have participating chapters in over 160 cities in 30 different countries. Drawing from the power of the grassroots and groundbreaking social scientific research, DxE uses creative nonviolent protest to challenge speciesism throughout society.

In January and November 2015, DxE released investigations into two of Whole Foods market’s most notable suppliers, including a “Certified Humane” egg farm and a turkey facility that was one of only three farms out of Whole Foods’ 2100+ suppliers to receive a 5+ rating on its Global Animal Partnership welfare scheme. The investigations and the ensuing protests around the world received coverage in hundreds of news outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. DxE has since filed charges against Diestel Farms, the turkey facility, for consumer fraud.

In February, July, October and November 2016, DxE released investigations of supposedly humane facilities, including a model egg supplier under California’s Proposition 2, which bans battery cages for hens; a “natural” pork supplier to Costco and the LA Dodgers; a cage-free Costco supplier; and the turkey supplier to the White House. The investigations received media coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Daily Mail, among other outlets.

In June 2016, DxE released an investigation into dog meat farms in Yulin, China on ABC’s Nightline. DxE compared the violence against dogs in Yulin to violence against animals on farms in the United States.

DxE’s Open Rescue Network provides open-source educational tools and resources to democratize investigatory work. The Open Rescue Network intends to serve as infrastructure for independent, grassroots teams of animal rights investigators around the world.



 Direct Action Everywhere has been featured in the New York Times, ABC, and the Washington Post among hundreds of other media outlets. See press highlights and a full press archive here. To contact our press team, email