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In first look at animal agriculture in North Carolina since the state adopted an “ag-gag” law, chicks suffer from the moment they hatch until the moment they die
Morganton, North Carolina and Washington, DC — September 21, 2021 — Today Animal Outlook, a national non-profit animal protection organization, released investigative footage captured at a North Carolina chicken hatchery owned by Case Farms that processes more than 200,000 chicks daily. The investigation reveals the cruelty and suffering these chicks experience as part of a major chicken industry operation.
In the chicken industry, chicks suffer from the moment they hatch. This investigation took place at Case Farms, which is one of the top 15 chicken producers in the U.S. It shows animals treated like mere widgets on a production line, transporting them by the thousands using machinery that traps, maims, dismembers or pulverizes many of them. Animal Outlook’s video shows:
- Newly-hatched chicks killed, mangled, maimed or trapped in equipment or machinery that was improperly operated or set up.
- Some chicks were not mangled by machines but were deformed, hatched improperly, hatched early and died, etc.
- Chicks being roughly handled, thrown, having plastic trays dragged across them and crushing their throats, and driven over with machinery.
- Injured or deformed chicks in trays with dead ones left to languish for hours.
- Gassing sick or injured birds before dumping them into a macerator to be sliced and rendered; in some instances, dumping fully conscious chicks into the macerator to be ground alive.
Of those 200,000 chicks processed daily at the facility, hundreds are killed along the way; those who survive will be used as food.
“It’s clear that Case Farms does not take seriously its legal and ethical duties of care toward the millions of animals it brings into the world each month. In fact, it appears to be so callous, the cruelty and neglect it imposes on these animals is simply business as usual,” said Animal Outlook’s Executive Director Cheryl Leahy. “It is incumbent upon us all as part of a caring society to ensure systemic abusers like this are held accountable.”
If chicks survive the Case Farms hatchery, they go to a grow-out facility where they are crammed together in dark, dirty sheds for a few more torturous weeks before being killed for food at only about six weeks old. According to one of the workers at the facility, chicks sometimes fall through the floorboards of the trucks during transport to the grow-out facility and are run over by the vehicles behind.
According to the Case Farms website, “the welfare of the animals under our care is of utmost importance.” Animal Outlook has notified local law enforcement and requested criminal charges against the Case Farms corporation for violation of North Carolina’s animal cruelty and neglect laws.
For investigative footage, please visit: AnimalOutlook.org/investigations/case-farms-hatchery.
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Animal Outlook is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Our mission: Working today to build a better tomorrow for all animals. We’re strategically challenging the status quo of animal agribusiness through undercover investigations, legal advocacy, corporate and food system reform, and empowering everyone to choose vegan.