COK Files Lawsuit Against California Hatchery to Stop Cruel and Unlawful Practices

smcdonaldInvestigations, Legal Advocacy 1 Comment

California HatcheryCompassion Over Killing is teaming up with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) to represent us in a lawsuit filed today against Cal-Cruz Hatcheries. The complaint, filed in the
California Superior Court, seeks to stop the alleged ongoing abuse of baby birds inside this Santa Cruz, California hatchery that was exposed in the media in 2010 for shocking cruelty to animals as documented by a COK investigation.

While working inside Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, a COK investigator used a hidden camera to document miserable conditions forced upon newly-hatched chicks (see video below). As described in the lawsuit, this video footage uncovers numerous routine abuses—including acts amounting to felony animal cruelty—that are in violation of California law, and which, in turn, constitute unlawful and unfair business practices under the California Business and Professions Code.

Specifically, our investigation uncovered:

  • Mutilated bodies of dead or dying hatchlings trapped in and under processing machinery;
  • Newly-hatched chicks with various injuries — open bloody wounds, skin ripped off, exposed organs, mutilated feet and legs — set aside and left in bins for several hours, where they were gasping for air, shaking, and struggling to move;
  • Baby birds cruelly tossed in a bucket of liquid waste where they struggled to escape before drowning;
  • Treated like trash, buckets of unwanted hatchlings dumped into the egg shell disposal chute and forced down a clogged drain with a pole and high-powered hose.

According to the lawsuit, Cal-Cruz is engaged in unlawful acts of animal cruelty that violate the California Business and Professions Code, cutting corners and costs at the expense of the birds’ welfare that enable it to undercut its competitors. This  lawsuit seeks an immediate end to the abusive and neglectful practices that are causing unnecessary suffering at Cal-Cruz.

Upon completion of our investigation, COK immediately turned over the video evidence to authorities. This prompted a follow-up investigation by humane law enforcement that corroborated our evidence of abuse and neglect — and resulted in the impoundment of 88 hatchlings. Unfortunately, no further legal action was taken by authorities.

“The systematic torture and reckless neglect of baby birds at Cal-Cruz is not only shocking—it is also illegal under the California Business and Professions Code,” explains ALDF’s director of litigation Carter Dillard.

These mistreated and abused baby birds deserve justice. It’s time that their suffering be recognized under the law and permanently stopped.

Read more about COK’s investigation inside Cal-Cruz Hatcheries.

Where do these baby birds go once they leave Cal-Cruz? ALDF was recently informed by a Cal-Cruz representative that many of these chicks are sent to Bauer Family Farms and Carlson Family Farms and are ultimately destined for meat counters at Northern California grocery stores.

Each of us can help protect these baby birds, and all farmed animals, simply by leaving them off our plates. Choose compassion – visit today.

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