The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Brent Cox,,303-210-5552

Netherlands Kills 300,000 Hens After Eggs Found Contaminated


More than 17 countries across Europe and in Asia trashed millions of eggs after news broke that the eggs contained fipronil, an insecticide commonly used to kill fleas, lice, mites, and ticks. In the EU it has been banned for use on farms.

Netherlands farmers have already killed more than 300,000 hens. Several million more may be killed at over 150 companies throughout the country.

Earlier this month, the Dutch Food Safety Service advised consumers not to eat eggs because of possible contamination. Fipronil, if ingested in significant quantities, is moderately toxic and can cause organ damage in humans. Symptoms of fipronil ingestion include sweating, nausea, vomiting, headache, abdominal pain, dizziness, agitation, weakness, and tonic-clonic seizures. In small doses poisoning has little effect.

According to ABC News, the eggs were produced in Belgium, France, Germany, and the Netherlands. They have since reached Austria, Britain, Denmark, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, and Hong Kong. More than 700,000 potentially tainted eggs entered the United Kingdom, and Germany pulled the 28 million possibly contaminated eggs it received off supermarket shelves.

At the center of the scandal is Chickfriend, a Dutch company allegedly hired to clean chicken sheds for more than 180 factories, and Poultry Vision, a pest control company that supplied the insecticide to Chickfriend. As a result of more than 11 raids in Belgium, two Chickfriend company directors have been arrested. To the alarm of consumers, nobody knows how long the insecticide has been used to clean the sheds.
Because chickens in factory farms live in overcrowded, filthy environments, disease and infestations run rampant. Once one animal in a factory farm is infested, parasites spread throughout the farm. As parasites feed on the chickens' bodies, the birds are left with open wounds that can easily be infected. Fipronil's main purpose is to prevent or stop the spread of parasites in these unnatural conditions.
Health scares and product recalls are common in the animal agriculture industry. This latest scandal comes after a jury found a businessman guilty of fraud because he added horse meat to beef and falsely labeled the mixture "100% beef." More than 66 people were arrested after three horse microchips were discovered in meat.
Operation Weak Flesh, a federal probe into meat industry giants JBS S.A. and BRF S.A., found pigs' head meat mixed into sausages, cardboard mixed into chicken meat, and chemicals injected into meat to hide the smell of rot.
This culture of fraud is common in the meat industry. When profits are more important than the health of consumers and the lives of animals, you can never be sure what you're eating.

Withdrawing your support of the meat industry is the only way to protect your health and end senseless killing of animals. Click here to learn more about a healthy, cruelty-free plant-based diet.

Mercy For Animals believes that a humane society is possible. We are committed to reducing the greatest amount of suffering for the largest number of animals. Our efforts focus on protecting farmed animals--the most abused and exploited animals on the planet--and utilize a broad range of strategic approaches that seek to expose cruelty, prosecute abusers, and inspire consumers to make compassionate food choices.