Egg producer Quantum Foods, a subsidiary of Pioneer Foods, had unreservedly apologised for the abusive treatment laying hens received at its Phokeng depot in Rustenburg, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (NSPCA) said yesterday. “This followed the NSPCA’s horror findings in March when emaciated, injured and dying birds were being sold from Pioneer Food’s Phokeng depot,” NSPCA farm animal protection unit manager Andries Venter said. On March 26, the NSPCA negotiated a long-term strategy with Quantum and Pioneer Foods. This was for the treatment of laying hens sold from the depot after their laying cycles. At the meeting, attended by the chief executives of Pioneer Foods, Quantum Foods, the NSPCA’s executive director, and Venter, the egg producer unreservedly apologised for the Phokeng depot incident. Venter said they acknowledged a lapse in standards had occurred and agreed that measures would be taken to upgrade the standard of handling hens. Disciplinary action had been taken and staff retrained. – Sapa