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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Jim Amos, Scout 22
Undercover Investigation Reveals Knowledge of Systemic Mistreatment, Nonprofit Alleges Criminal Animal Cruelty
Washington, DC – May 17, 2023 – Today, the animal protection organization Animal Outlook released an undercover investigation documenting what it says is systemic and criminal animal cruelty at Jannat Farm, contracted by Tyson Foods to raise chickens for meat. Animal Outlook says that Tyson was aware of cruel conditions and practices at a facility it had contracted with for at least seven years, but did not take action. Instead, Tyson repeatedly sent new flocks of birds to the facility, including a flock of 150,000 at the outset of Animal Outlook’s investigation. Animal Outlook says that this flies in the face of Tyson’s marketing claims about animal welfare and demonstrates what activists have long said: that cruelty and suffering are not exceptions in animal agriculture, they are the rule.
“Yet again, a Tyson contractor has been exposed for abysmal conditions and practices. There is absolutely no excuse,” said Cheryl Leahy, Executive Director of Animal Outlook. “The day-to-day suffering of these birds is palpable in each of the videos. Still, Tyson delivered birds, year after year. That’s why this investigation is so important–it leaves no question that cruelty in animal agriculture is not limited to isolated incidents, it is systemic. We can’t have a legal system that works if billion-dollar companies can profit from systemic cruelty and operate outside the law.”
The investigator worked undercover for more than two months, documenting specific acts of violence, such as workers kicking and throwing birds, and widespread abysmal conditions. Footage shows ill, injured, and deformed birds left to suffer, sometimes for days; food and water deprivation; bug-infested feed and rat corpses; and violations of biosecurity protocols amidst a bird flu outbreak. Water lines were too high for many young birds to reach, and they can be seen jumping helplessly for water. Food ran out in the chicken houses multiple times. Once, because Tyson did not replenish feed, birds were without food for an estimated 52 hours. Dead chickens were left to decay in and around feed trays and inside the chicken houses. The Tyson representative also revealed that Tyson doesn’t customarily implement biosecurity measures in the area of Jannat Farm, but had done so due to the avian influenza outbreak–even so, the protocol was ignored by those at the facility and Tyson did not enforce it.
The investigation also shows that Tyson’s employee, the owner of the facility, and the manager of the facility were fully aware of the conditions. Among other documentation, the investigator captured footage of the manager stating that the Tyson representative knows the facility is in poor condition and that the owner is worried it will get shut down. But the facility manager says that the Tyson representative has never taken any action, so he is not concerned. In another clip, the Tyson representative admits that Tyson cares more about facilities if there is competition in their surrounding area.
Animal Outlook says conditions and practices at the facility rise to the level of criminal animal cruelty and is pressing for charges against a number of potential defendants, including Tyson, Jannat Farm, the facility owner, and the facility manager.
Tyson is the largest chicken company in the United States and markets itself as upholding a “moral and ethical obligation” of “proper animal handling” and claims that “[c]aring about animals is inherent to who [Tyson is] as a company.” It claims to have “zero tolerance for animal abuse.” It purports to have an Animal Welfare Advisory Panel and programs, including audits, to enforce its supposed commitment to the humane treatment of animals. Yet, as Animal Outlook’s investigation shows, Tyson knew about the conditions at Jannat Farm, with which it has contracted for years, yet sent 150,000 birds to endure immense suffering on the facility anyway. The investigator also captured footage of the Tyson representative joking about marketing for “free range” chickens, stating, “Those birds don’t go outside. You know that. …That is strictly for commercial purposes.”
This is not the first time a Tyson-contracted facility has been exposed for animal cruelty, including twice before by Animal Outlook, in 2016and 2017. Other animal protection organizations have also conducted exposés of animal cruelty on Tyson-contracted facilities.
ABOUT ANIMAL OUTLOOK
Animal Outlook is a national nonprofit 501(c)(3) animal advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles, CA. It is strategically challenging animal agribusiness through undercover investigations, legal advocacy, corporate and food system reform, and disseminating information about the many harms of animal agriculture, empowering everyone to choose vegan. animaloutlook.org