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This article contains descriptions of animal abuse that might disturb readers.
A secret investigation has revealed “horrific” animal cruelty at a cage-free chicken hatchery in North Carolina.
Animal Cruelty at Case Farms
The Case Farms poultry farming and processing group, and one of the largest chicken producers in the United States, operates the facility.
The facility treats over 200,000 chicks per day.
An undercover activist filmed the operations of Case Farm on behalf of the non-profit animal rights organization Animal Outlook.
The footage shows newly hatched chicks mutilated, trapped or killed by equipment and machinery that has been used or installed incompetently.
Workers can be seen throwing animals and dragging trays over their bodies, “breaking their throats,” Animal Outlook says. In the video, “horribly injured” chicks squirm and try to crawl on bloody trays alongside dead birds.
The hidden camera also captured chicks whose organs protruded from their exposed feathers.
And, in some cases, employees throw fully conscious chicks through a macerator to be ground alive.
However, in other areas of the food industry this treatment is part of the procedure.
In the egg industry, only female hens are considered necessary as they are bred to lay eggs. Male chicks, on the other hand, are considered a by-product of the industry and are regularly macerated around one day old.
Although even in the meat industry, chicks raised for meat are usually slaughtered relatively young – around 6 weeks of age.
The footage shows the investigator reporting animal welfare issues to a supervisor. For example, the activist alerted the supervisor that a mechanical piston was accidentally lowered quickly onto the chicks’ heads. However, the supervisor dismissed these concerns.
In another clip, a worker mocked the chickens that fall off their trays and are then “flattened” by moving vehicles.
We are far from the commitments of Case Farms in terms of animal welfare. âCase Farms has built its business on a commitment to ensuring the health and welfare of its chickens, which are raised without a cage,â the company writes on its website.
“The welfare of the animals we take care of is of the utmost importance,” he also says, assuring that the animals do not receive hormones or steroids.
Earlier this week, separate reports revealed cruelty to animals on an egg farm in New Zealand.
A whistleblower who had worked for the company revealed that the hens were left to rot in cages alongside live birds. The source said the workers “twisted the birds by the neck until their heads came off.”
Northern Farms, which operates the facility, brushed off the claims, blaming them on a “disgruntled employee.”