Take Action: Mountaire Falls Silent on Cruel Animal Practice

by Stuart McDonald

nose boning

As Mountaire, the sixth largest poultry producer in the United States, comes under fire for creating environmental and health hazards, including a wrongful death suit, it also remains silent on issues of animal welfare. Unlike 17 of the 20 top poultry producers, Mountaire has yet to publicly confirm that they do not use the cruel practice of “nose boning” in which a plastic rod is stabbed through male breeder birds’ nostrils to restrict food intake.

Environmental Nuisance

In June, 80 residents living near the Mountaire plant in Millsboro, Delaware, filed suit against Mountaire for exceeding its limit of permitted waste. Mountaire, the suit claims, has been contributing to nitrate contamination in groundwater and spraying wastewater and sludge onto fields.

This new lawsuit comes shortly after Mountaire was ordered a civil penalty by Delaware’s Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. Though the penalty started off at $600,000 it was reduced to $420,000–pending that Mountaire offer the community an alternative water supply. The current suit addresses Mountaire’s practice of spraying waste, thus contaminating the air and water and reducing property values. This isn’t the first time animal agriculture has been accused of this–communities in rural North Carolina have been fighting against pork producers over the same issues for years.

Wrongful Death

According to this suit, Mountaire’s waste management practices have also contributed to the wrongful death of Kiwanis Burton, who passed away from a severe asthma attack. This attack, the suit claims, was caused by environmental pollution from the Mountaire plant.

Animal Cruelty

While these suits focus on one Mountaire plant, the company as a whole has its issues. In a 2015 investigation, Compassion Over Killing revealed workers at a Mountaire slaughterhouse violating animal protection laws by punching, hitting, and throwing live birds, ripping out birds’ feathers, and throwing sick or injured birds into piles of other dead or dying birds like garbage.

2015 wasn’t the last time Mountaire ruffled feathers as a result of its animal welfare practices. During a later COK investigation at a Tyson Foods plant, an investigator documented for the first time on hidden camera the cruel practice called “nose boning.” Because today’s “broiler” birds are bred for unnatural, crippling rapid growth, dull plastic “nose bones” are stabbed through the sensitive nostrils of male “breeder” birds in order to restrict their food intake. Since birds are bred to grow quickly and be slaughtered at a young age, “breeder” birds cannot put weight on like “broilers,” lest they suffer the various medical issues caused by rapid growth and not make it to maturity.

Mountaire’s Response

In light of this discovery, Compassion Over Killing asked Mountaire if they utilized the painful practice. You helped us by calling in and asking the 6th largest US poultry producer, Mountaire Farms, with calls urging it to tell the public whether it uses these cruel devices. The poultry giant responded on Facebook: “Mountaire Farms Does Not Utilize the Nose Bone Practice” — but the post was quickly deleted.

Mountaire has been mum about why the post was deleted–even though consumers are hungry to know for sure whether it supports cruel “nose boning.” In the meantime, one worker from COK’s Tyson investigation has been convicted of animal cruelty for using “nose bones,” and you’ve helped us confirm that 17 of the top 20 chicken producers are either eliminating or do not use these archaic devices.

Take Action

It’s time for Mountaire to join them by issuing a permanent public statement on “nose bones”! Please join us TODAY, August 1, for a nationwide call-in urging Mountaire to let us know its stance on the cruel practice. Make a quick call to 877-887-1490 (option 0) with a polite message like this:

“Hi, my name is _____ and I’m calling as a concerned consumer to ask Mountaire to issue a permanent public statement on whether it uses outdated, cruel ‘nose bones’ in its broiler breeders. Last year, a statement was posted on your Facebook page but was quickly deleted, and since then, you’ve been silent on the issue. Since then, a former Tyson employee has been convicted of cruelty for using ‘nose bones,’ and 17 of the top 20 chicken producers, including Tyson, Perdue, and Pilgrim’s, have already confirmed to Compassion Over Killing that they are phasing out or do not use them. It’s time for Mountaire to join its competitors and issue a permanent public statement. Thank you.”

If you get a busy signal, please try again in a few minutes. After you call, don’t forget to email campaigns@cok.net with any response you get from the company, and multiply your impact by sharing this link on social media: http://bit.ly/CallMountaire. Thanks for your compassion!

nose boning

Related Articles

Animals Are Not A Health Food!

Federal Court Allows Case Against North Carolina Ag-Gag Law to Proceed

Morningstar Goes Vegan with 3 Chick'n Products