The United Egg Producers filed requests Monday with the district attorneys in Montgomery, Md., and Sacramento County, Calif., alleging that an employee of the Humane Society of the United States "impersonated an egg industry ally" and illegally taped telephone conversations with a UEP staff member by not advising the staff member that the conversations were being recorded and that HSUS then used the illegally recorded information to support a California political campaign.
UEP's filings maintain that the calls were made from a phone in Maryland, where recording phone calls without permission of all involved parties is illegal, and that the information obtained in the calls then was disclosed to a former HSUS operative in California, where it is illegal to disclose information that's the consequence of illegally recorded phone calls.
The information was used to further the HSUS-led ballot initiative on farm animal housing, known as Proposition 2, or "Prop 2," according to the filings. The former HSUS operative is the spokesperson for the group supporting Prop 2.
Prop 2 would make almost all egg production in California illegal.
HSUS, in a statement, said UEP, which represents almost all U.S. egg producers, was "playing fast and loose with the facts," noting that the information was obtained through unrecorded phone calls and in the organization's own newsletter.