Veterinary Association Proposes Burying Chickens Alive

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A Compassion Over Killing investigator working inside a North Carolina factory farm supplying Pilgrim’s Corp. (previously Pilgrim’s Pride) — the second largest poultry producer in the world — documented live chickens heartlessly dumped into outdoor pits.

As our investigator caught on camera, these unwanted chickens, who were sick or injured, were stuffed into buckets with dead or dying birds and then buried in a pit behind the facility, leaving them to die of starvation, dehydration, or suffocation. Believe it or not, this cruel practice is not a violation of North Carolina animal protection laws.

Even more alarming, this horrific act of killing chickens by live burial has now been proposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) as a “depopulation” method for handling avian influenza outbreaks.

The AVMA writes, “Mass depopulation refers to methods by which large numbers of animals must be destroyed quickly and efficiently with as much consideration given to the welfare of the animals as practicable, but where the circumstances and tasks facing those doing the depopulation are understood to be extenuating.”

Yes, the AVMA, an association that is comprised of veterinarians who have signed an oath to prevent and relieve animal suffering, is now suggesting that burying animals alive may be acceptable?!  You don’t have to be a veterinarian to know that this is a cruel act that causes tremendous suffering and it shouldn’t even be on the table for consideration. The same goes for the other depopulation methods proposed by the AVMA, which include:

  • shutting down ventilation to kill birds or pigs of heat or suffocation
  • using water-based foam to drown or suffocate birds

Not only would these practices subject animals to horrific, slow, and agonizing deaths, but they would be put in place in an attempt to control disease on factory farms that create the perfect conditions for spreading disease, as animal protection organizations have pointed out in response to the AVMA.

Intensively crowded by the thousands into windowless and filthy factory farms, animals suffer illnesses, infections, and disease — in conditions where these sicknesses can rapidly grow worse and spread.

While avian influenza is certainly a concern and can cause mild to severe symptoms, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) states that human infection is rare. Perhaps the AVMA should center its attention on how to clean up factory farms to prevent such outbreaks from happening in the first place.

The AVMA did not allow for public feedback on its proposal to bury animals alive, but it’s possible that the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) will allow comments when considering the proposal. Stay tuned for updates.

Photos above from COK’s investigation – Pilgrim’s Shame: Birds Buried Alive

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