IHOP: International House of Pain

Not to be confused with Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.

I’m talking about the new campaign launched yesterday by the HSUS to get IHOP  to switch to eggs that don’t come from hens crammed in battery cages. Yes, I’m vegan, so I don’t eat eggs even if they’re cage-free. So why does the source of IHOP’s eggs matter to me?

Because, even though many other restaurant chains (Denny’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Quiznos, Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr.) have started using cage-free eggs (although only about 2-5% of the eggs they’re using are cage-free), IHOP has continually refused to get their eggs from more humane sources.

Because using even a small percentage of cage-free eggs is a step in the right direction (anyone who’s ever taken a basic psychology class knows about “shaping”).

Because anything is better than this:

IHOP is based in California, where just last year Proposition 2 passed by 63.5%. The resulting Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act bans, among other things, the use of battery cages throughout the state by 2015. Since IHOP insists on using eggs from hens crammed in tiny cages, it’s pretty obvious that they were among the 36.5% who voted against Prop 2.

The undercover investigation conducted by Compassion over Killing of IHOP’s primary egg supplier, Michael Foods, showed hens living in cramped, filthy conditions. Hens in battery cages have less space than a single sheet of paper each, and were found having to live with their dead cagemates’ decomposing bodies because workers at the factory farms won’t take the time to make sure they get every dead body out of the cages.

Not only is this an animal welfare issue, but also a food safety issue. Hens living in such close quarters spread disease quickly, so they’re pumped with antibiotics. The antibiotics only work in the short run, serving in the long run to only make disease strains stronger (bird flu, anyone?). Decomposing corpses alongside egg-laying hens are rife with bacteria. Last but not least, factory farms such as this are a huge environmental issue. If you’ve ever been unfortunate enough to get anywhere near a factory farm, you know that the stench is horrible. Waste runoff from factory farm facilities gets into nearby water systems. In essence, as Herbivore puts it, “Factory farms are mean and nasty.”

But don’t fret just yet! There are many ways you can help move IHOP in the right direction!

  • Become a fan of IHOP on Facebook, and post a brief & polite note on their wall asking them to stop using hens from battery cages.
  • Sign the petition to tell IHOP that using eggs from abused hens is NOT OK, and get all your friends to do the same.
  • Call Argonne, a company that owns many IHOP restaurants, at 404-364-2984 (if voicemail picks up, press “1” for Michael Klump, Argonne’s president). Briefly and politely make the same points as in the Facebook message.

I called Argonne and left this message on Michael Klump’s voicemail:

“Hi. I’m a member of the HSUS Teen Advisory Board, and I’m calling to ask IHOP to start using eggs that don’t come from cruelly caged hens in factory farms. Other major restaurant chains are going cage-free, so won’t you please join them? Thank you for your time in listening to this message.”

  • Teens can also further help hens by visiting www.humaneteen.org and participating in the Friends For Hens project.
  • Spread the word! The more people create a buzz about IHOP’s cruel practices, the more pressure they’re going to have to move in the right direction.

This is only the second day of the campaign, and already IHOP has contacted the HSUS a few times to discuss change. All the wall posts on their facebook page have got them bothered, so we’ve got to keep it up until they actually change their ways!

Thank you in advance for anything you do to help the campaign along, and I promise next time I blog it’ll be something more happy and uplifting! (Let’s just say I went to the cake&candy store today to get some decorating tools)

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