Gemperle Enterprises, a large commercial egg producer that was accused in undercover video last week of egregious animal abuse when workers were shown kicking and stomping on hens and leaving diseased and injured birds to suffer in their cages, issued a statement Monday night that the video was "a staged, vicious attack" on the company.
"We are continuing to investigate and now know that our employees (in the video) were coerced by the activist to engage in behavior that is against our high standards for hen welfare for the sole purpose of filming a sensational video," the company said.
The activist in question was an investigator for the vegan activist group Mercy for Animals that publicly released the video.
Gemperle Enterprises further reported that an entry-level employee said he was "directed by the activist" to perform acts of abuse while being filmed and that not only were the more sensational video segments staged, but the film was "manipulated" to include footage "sped up to appear more forceful and extreme."
The statement said "the Gemperle family is absolutely committed to the proper welfare of our hens and adheres to the highest standards of animal welfare."
Mercy for Animals now charges that Gemperle is lying. They have released a statement which says, "The statement from Gemperle Enterprises is riddled with inconsistencies, outright falsehoods, and libelous claims that the video evidence clearly refutes. Gemperle should take responsibility for the cruelty taking place in its facility and phase out the confinement of birds in abusive battery cages."