Breaking news: HSUS undercover video reveals Pilgrim’s Pride has much to hide

By on June 27, 2017 with 5 Comments

The HSUS’s latest undercover investigation has exposed extreme animal suffering at massive industrial chicken production and slaughtering facilities connected to the factory farm giant Pilgrim’s Pride. Pilgrim’s Pride is a Brazilian-owned food company that is the second largest chicken producer in the United States, producing more than a billion chickens a year.

In May, an HSUS undercover investigation documented egregious cruelty to animals at a slaughter facility owned by Pilgrim’s Pride in Texas. The HSUS continued our investigation into June and found disturbing abuse of chickens at an industrial farm in Georgia raising chickens under contract for Pilgrim’s.

Despite animal welfare assurances made by Pilgrim’s Pride, we documented major problems at both facilities. In Georgia, the facility’s owner bludgeoned chickens with a metal rod—revealing that the problems at this facility start right at the top. Our investigator concluded that the owner abused these birds to make catching them easier.

The owner also twisted birds’ necks in crude attempts to kill them, and grabbed animals by their necks and threw them around—seemingly, just to let off steam. The investigation documented animals packed wing-to-wing by the thousands, with their living environment thick with ammonia and other waste. Bred to grow extremely large extremely fast, these chickens suffered crippling leg deformities and injuries that prevented some from even being able to walk to their food and water.

At a Pilgrim’s Pride slaughter facility in Texas we investigated, there were different practices but similarly intense suffering. Workers punched and slammed birds into and at metal shackles—for no apparent reason other than to cause suffering, and perhaps a manifestation of the numbing and morally deadening environment typified by conventional industrial slaughter. Despite declarations from Pilgrim’s Pride that employees handling live chickens receive animal welfare training, the HSUS investigator employed at this Texas facility received no such training whatsoever. During a full week of orientation, the words “animal welfare” never crossed the lips of the training team.

For the last year, The HSUS and other animal protection organizations have been calling on the poultry industry, along with every major food company that sells chicken, to address the leading causes of suffering in this sector. Our “9 Billion Lives” campaign has exposed the systematic mistreatment of chickens—revealing standard problems in the breeding, housing, and slaughtering of these animals.

In response, major brands—Burger King, Subway, Jack in the Box, Chipotle, Sodexo, Aramark, and dozens more—have announced plans to vastly improve their poultry supply chains in order to minimize the suffering of animals they sell for sandwiches and other food items. What this investigation highlights is how desperately those reforms are needed—and how poultry producers themselves must become part of the solution and not the incubators of the problem.

The HSUS is calling on all major food companies to play a part in this transformation. For those that have already pledged reforms: we urge you to press the issue with your suppliers until they agree to your animal welfare requirements—or else drop them from your supply chain entirely. And to those brands that have yet to pledge reforms: we call on you today to join others in your industry in demanding a better future for your birds.

In a food production system largely built upon the backs (and wings) of animals, we cannot continue subjugating their most basic needs to such a pitiful degree. We can do better for these animals, and we must.

You can read our full report on these investigations detailing exactly what we found here.

Undercover at Pilgrim’s Pride

Industry attempts to revive horse slaughter in the U.S.

By on June 26, 2017 with 9 Comments
Industry attempts to revive horse slaughter in the U.S.

Some months ago, I wrote about a horse named Jakar, once destined for slaughter, rescued by an animal advocate, and eventually taken on by the Cleveland Police Department for law enforcement duties. Jakar, along with other members of Cleveland’s mounted police force contingent, marched in the 2017 inauguration parade in a classic rags to riches . . . 

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Great Danes got minimal care at New Hampshire mansion of horrors

By on June 23, 2017 with 4 Comments
Great Danes got minimal care at New Hampshire mansion of horrors

The rescue of 84 Great Danes from a 15,000-square-foot mansion in a resort community in central New Hampshire was as surprising as it was dramatic. The juxtaposition of a pricey neighborhood and a huge house packed with animals living in filth and squalor reminds us that there are hard-hearted and troubled people everywhere – people . . . 

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Trump administration puts Yellowstone grizzlies in the crosshairs

By on June 22, 2017 with 6 Comments
Trump administration puts Yellowstone grizzlies in the crosshairs

Despite having received more than half a million citizen comments opposing the action, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced that it is removing federal Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem and effectively transferring management authority over these animals to Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming. State authorities and wildlife . . . 

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Breaking news: New York City bans use of wild animals in circuses

By on June 21, 2017 with 7 Comments
Breaking news: New York City bans use of wild animals in circuses

Following the lead of Los Angeles – which took the same action two months ago – the New York City Council, the lawmaking body for the City of New York’s eight million residents, voted today to ban wild animal acts in circuses (after a one-year phase-in). The New York City Council embraced the policy in . . . 

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More states say ‘yes’ to breaking into cars when a dog is at risk

By on June 20, 2017 with 6 Comments
More states say ‘yes’ to breaking into cars when a dog is at risk

Yesterday, I wrote about Chinese authorities stopping a truck jam-packed with 800-plus dogs bound for slaughter. Today, I read a story about a truck with nearly 1,000 small animals crammed inside — including birds, chickens, bunnies, and guinea pigs – and left in the searing heat in Fresno County, California. The temperature inside the truck . . . 

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Authorities seize truck with more than 800 dogs, jam-packed in cages, bound for slaughter

By on June 19, 2017 with 18 Comments
Authorities seize truck with more than 800 dogs, jam-packed in cages, bound for slaughter

Working on a tip from activists (including Humane Society International partner groups) just two days before the “official” start of the dog meat “festival” in Yulin, authorities have seized a truck transporting more than 800 dogs to a dog meat market. After 10 hours of negotiation, the dogs were handed over to the activists. At . . . 

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Breaking news: The HSUS intervenes to stop outsized cruelty at a puppy mill in New Hampshire

By on June 17, 2017 with 136 Comments
Breaking news: The HSUS intervenes to stop outsized cruelty at a puppy mill in New Hampshire

Yesterday, The HSUS assisted the Wolfeboro Police Department with a puppy mill intervention not on a farm in Arkansas or a shack in North Carolina (two states where we’ve done major actions to help dogs), but rather in a mansion in northern New England. It is one of the most unexpected puppy mill operations our . . . 

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BLM plotting war on wild horses

By on June 15, 2017 with 48 Comments
BLM plotting war on wild horses

The Department of the Interior, under the leadership of Secretary Ryan Zinke, has signaled its intention to strip decades-old federal protections for wild horses and burros and to allow them to be shipped to slaughter by the tens of thousands. Public comments and Congressional testimony from Zinke and other high-ranking government officials represents the most . . . 

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Department of Commerce move to nix protections for whales, dolphins, turtles makes no sense

By on June 14, 2017 with 5 Comments
Department of Commerce move to nix protections for whales, dolphins, turtles makes no sense

On Monday, the Trump administration announced that it was cancelling plans that would have protected whales, dolphins, and endangered sea turtles from high levels of drowning deaths in drift gillnets set off the California coast. The most puzzling thing about this announcement is that the fishery itself had supported the plan. It’s yet one more . . . 

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