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Compassion Over Killing Investigations

COK’s powerful undercover investigations shine a bright light on cruelties kept hidden behind the closed doors of animal agribusiness. In addition to garnering international media coverage reaching millions of viewers, our video exposés have led to a slaughterhouse shutdown, animal cruelty charges, groundbreaking lawsuits, and animal rescues.  Please watch and share the footage below.


Pilgrims Corp.Pilgrim’s Corp.: Chicken Factory Farm

Date: June 2014
Facility: Pilgrim’s Corp.
Location: Harnett County, NC

In early 2014, a Compassion Over Killing investigator wore a hidden camera while working behind the closed doors of a North Carolina chicken factory that supplies Pilgrim’s Corp. (formerly known as Pilgrim’s Pride) — the second-largest chicken producer in the world. Typically kept hidden from public view, our video footage uncovers the following day-to-day horrors:

  • birds suffering from painful leg deformities, unable to walk
  • sick or injured birds thrown around
  • unwanted birds stuffed into buckets with dead or decaying corpses
  • unwanted birds, many who are sick or injured, buried alive in mass graves

Each year in the US, more than 8 billion chickens are raised and killed for their meat, and countless more suffer and die before even reaching the slaughterhouse. Much of the suffering these birds endure results from standard industry practices. Few people have seen the daily miseries these baby birds are forced to endure — until now.

Watch our video and read more.


turkey-invpagesHargin Inc.: Turkey Breeding Factory

Date: November 2013
Facility: Hargin Inc., a turkey breeding factory farm
Location: Starbuck, MN

In 2013, a COK undercover investigator worked inside Hargin, Inc., a turkey breeding factory farm in Minnesota where an estimated 25,000 female turkeys are locked inside filthy, overcrowded sheds. These hens will spend their lives being artificially inseminated over and over again to continually lay eggs that will hatch young turkeys to be raised and slaughtered for food.

Sadly, these birds often get their wings, heads, or feet stuck in the mechanical nesting boxes — causing severe injuries as the desperately try to free themselves. To make matters worse, the squalid, cramped conditions cause many hens to suffer from various ailments, such as severe irritations covering their heads and faces. As is standard in the industry, sick and injured birds are typically left to suffer without veterinary care.

Watch our video and read more.


quanah-210x210Quanah Cattle Co.: Dairy Calf-Raising Facility

Date: November 2013
Facility: Quanah Cattle Co., a calf-raising facility
Location: Kersey, CO

A COK undercover investigator uncovered egregious abuse to newborn calves inside Quanah Cattle Co., an animal agribusiness company that purchases calves from surrounding dairy factories and temporarily confines them before shipping them out to be raised for their meat.

Just days old, many of these calves – some of whom still have their umbilical cords hanging from their bodies – are too feeble or frightened to walk steadily, and our investigation documented these fragile animals being dragged by their legs, pulled by their ears, lifted by their tails, thrown, kicked, and slammed.

Watch our video and read more.


bellandevans-1Bell & Evans: Chicken Hatchery

Date: October 2013
Facility: Bell & Evans., a chicken hatchery
Location: Belleville, PA

A Compassion Over Killing investigator worked inside a chicken hatchery owned by Bell & Evans, a company that prides itself for its so-called “humane animal welfare.” Our undercover video, however, exposes the harsh realities forced upon these baby birds on their very first day of life as they emerge from their shells, destined to be raised for their meat.

Inside this Bell & Evans facility, where an estimated 20 million baby birds are hatched each year, our video shows chicks being treated like mere inanimate objects — some unwanted baby birds are even ground up alive.

Watch our video and read more.


cow

Central Valley Meat Co.: Dairy Cow Slaughter Plant

Date: August 2012
Facility: Central Valley Meat Co., a cow slaughterhouse
Location: Hanford, California

A COK investigator working inside Central Valley Meat Co. in June and July of 2012, documented inhumane treatment, improper slaughter methods, and intentional cruelty forced upon these animals in the last moments of their lives, including:

- Downed cows, unable to walk to the kill floor, shot in the head and workers often walking away while the animal continues to struggle and kick
- Some downed cows who were still alive after being shot in the head were then suffocated by workers who stood on their mouths and nostrils preventing the cows from breathing
- Cows being tortured – repeatedly hit, jabbed, electrically shocked, and sprayed with hot water – in a narrow chute leading to the kill floor.

Following our investigation, which received large-scale media coverage including features on ABC World News Tonight and by the Associated Press, the USDA temporarily shut down the slaughter plant. McDonald’s, In-N-Out and Costco also severed supply ties with the facility.

Watch our video and read more.

 


hscHawkeye Sow Centers: Pig Breeding Factory Farm

Date: February 2012
Facility: Hawkeye Sow Centers, a pig breeding factory farm
Location: Leland, Iowa

A COK undercover investigator to documented the day-to-day miseries forced upon thousands of female pigs at this facility—who are intensively confined in tiny crates where they can’t even turn around—and their piglets, who endure painful mutilations without any relief. The video footage revealed:

- Poorly performed castrations that resulted in herniated intestines
- Workers pushing the herniated intestines back inside the piglets, then wrapping the area with tape
- Countless sick or injured piglets left to suffer without veterinary care, many of whom later died
- Sows languishing with uterine prolapses and later dying
- Forced cannibalism: intestines from dead piglets are pulled out and turned into “gruel” to feed back to pigs
- Layers of feces caked on the floor of crates and filthy, fly-infested conditions

Watch our video and read more.

 


hatcheryCal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc.: Chicken & Duck Hatchery

Date: 2009
Facility: Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, a chick and duckling hatchery
Location: Santa Cruz, California

COK’s investigator witnessed and painstakingly documented miserable conditions forced upon thousands of newly hatched birds at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, including:

- A chick drowning in a bucket of liquid waste
- Birds entangled in machinery
- Sick or severely injured birds left to suffer for hours
- Unwanted hatchlings dumped down the egg shell disposal chute, then sprayed with a high-pressure hose
- Birds thrown five to six feet across the room into buckets where they often languished for hours

Following the COK investigation, the hatchery was permanently shut down, and 88 ducklings were taken from the hatchery. While several of these newly-hatched birds were too sick or injured to survive, more than two dozen were given a new chance at life at a nearby sanctuary.

In court, COK argued that the evidence documented in this undercover video of the hatchery constituted unlawful animal cruelty, in violation of the California Business and Professions Code, undermining the integrity of the market. The legal settlement reached marks the first time allegations of animal cruelty were successfully resolved using this civil law.

Watch our video and read more.

 


Dunkin_investigationMichael Foods: Egg Factory Farm

Date: August 2009
Facility: Michael Foods, an egg factory farm
Location: Minnesota

At Michael Foods, a COK investigator documented horrific abuses including:

- Hens immobilized in the wires of their cages, unable to access food or water
- Decomposing and “mummified” corpses left in cages with live birds
- A Michael Foods employee decapitating a hen

Michael Foods supplies eggs to several national restaurant chains, including Dunkin’ Donuts. Compassion Over Killing has reached out to Dunkin Donuts numerous times to inquire about the treatment of hens in its supply chain and to encourage the company to make meaningful changes for by making vegan donuts.

Read more about this investigation and urge Dunkin Donuts to offer a vegan donut.

 


foiegras_investigationHudson Valley Farms

Date: 2008
Facility: Hudson Valley Farms, a Foie Gras farm
Location: Ferndale, New York

During a white-gloved, guided tour, a COK investigator documented the sheer barbarity of the foie gras industry. What our investigator documented can only be described as a torture chamber for birds. The undercover footage shows:

- Pipes being shoved down ducks’ throats and food pumped into their stomachs
- Ducks grabbed by their wings, shackled upside down, and their throats slit

COK is currently involved in a lawsuit against the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for allowing the sale of foie gras since it is a diseased poultry product.

View our video and read more.

 


ISE-AmericaISE_investigation

Date: 2007
Facility: ISE-America, an egg factory farm
Location: New Jersey

The undercover footage at this facility shows:

- Birds overcrowded in cages
- Severely decomposing birds left in cages with live birds
- Ill birds denied individual veterinary care
- Hens stuck in between the wires of their cages, unable to access food and water

Eggs coming from this facility included a logo marking them as “Animal Care Certified.” Following the investigation, COK filed a lawsuit against the industry trade group United Egg Producers (UEP) and ISE America alleging violations of consumer protection laws based on the continued use of the misleading “Animal Care Certified” logo on egg cartons.

 


turkey_investigationGoldsboro Milling Turkey Hatchery: A Butterball Supplier

Date: June – July 2006
Facility: Turkey hatchery that supplies Butterball
Location: North Carolina

From the moment chicks were hatched at this facility, they were submerged into a world of misery. Chicks at the hatchery were routinely:

- Dumped out of metal trays and jostled onto conveyor belts after being mechanically separated from cracked egg shells
- Newly-hatched turkeys were tossed around like inanimate objects
- Sorted, sexed, de-beaked, de-toed, and in some cases de-snooded before they are packed up and shipped off to a “grow out” confinement facility

View the video and learn more.

 


esbenshade_investigationEsbenshade Farms

Date: November – December 2005
Facility: Esbenshade Farms, an egg factory farm
Location: Mount Joy, Pennsylvania

While undercover, our COK investigator found:

- Birds overcrowded in wire cages so small, they cannot spread their wings
- Hens left to suffer from untreated illnesses or injuries,
- Birds with their wings, legs, or feet entangled in the wires of cages, unable to access food or water
- Injured or dying birds removed from their cages and left in the aisles without access to food or water,
- Birds impaled on the wires of the cages with many already dead

This investigation resulted in 70 counts of animal cruelty being filed against the owner and manager, and it is the first case ever in which criminal charges for cruelty to animals were filed for the day-to-day operations at a factory farm.

View the video and learn more.


transportInterstate Transport Investigation

Date: July 2005

COK investigators traveled throughout the United States to document the conditions endured by farmed animals shipped across the country on trucks and trailers. The investigators found:

- Farmed animals overcrowded onto vehicles and moved long distances
- Transport often exceeded 28 hours without food, water, rest or adequate protection from elements
- An untold number suffer in-transit injuries, illnesses, stress and even death

Following the investigation, COK filed a petition with the USDA challenging the Twenty-Eight Hour Law of 1873, which stated animals could not be transported via “rail carrier, express carrier or common carrier” for longer than 28 consecutive hours without being unloaded for five hours for “feeding, water, and rest.” After reviewing the petition, the USDA announced that it will begin protecting farmed animals transported long distances by trucks.

View the video and learn more.

 


RedBird_investigationMaryland Egg Farms: Red Bird, ISE, County Fair

Date: February 2005
Facility: Redbird Egg Farm, ISE-America, County Fair Farms
Location: Maryland

COK investigators went into three Maryland egg farms to document the unthinkable cruelties egg-laying hens endure. In the farms, investigators found:

- Tens of thousands of hens crammed into tiny wire cages
- Hens denied veterinary care and left to suffer from illness and disease
- Deceased hens left in the cages, their bodies decomposing around live hens

View the video and learn more.

 


Perdue Farmsperdue

Date: September – October 2004
Facility: Perdue Farms, a slaughter plant
Location: Showell, Maryland

Using a hidden camera, our COK investigator documented horrible—yet routine—cruelty to animals on a daily basis, including:

- Workers violently throwing birds around the slaughter plant’s hanging room
- Birds—many who were dying—left unattended on the conveyor belt during workers’ lunch breaks
- Dead and dying birds on the grounds outside of the plant
- Birds flapping violently after having their throats slit

View the video and learn more.


redbird_investigation

Red Bird Egg Farm

Date: May 2004
Facility: Red Bird Egg Farm
Location: Millington, Maryland

At this “Animal Care Certified” facility, COK undercover investigators documented:

- Extreme confinement: cages stacked upon cages
- Vast manure pits under the cages containing escaped birds
- Piles of dead birds
- Several birds were rescued by COK from this farm


ise_investigation2003

ISE-America

Date: May 2003
Facility: ISE-America, an egg factory farm
Location: Cecilton, Maryland

COK investigators documented egregious abuse:

- Hens stacked 5 tiers high with several hens stuffed into each battery cage
- Hens suffering from severe feather-loss and often living in the feces of those caged above
- Birds needing veterinary care left to suffer with injuries and infections

 

 


ise_storm_investigation

Disaster at ISE-America

Date: February 2003
Facility: ISE-America, an egg factory farm
Location: Cecilton, Maryland

Heavy snowstorms plagued the Washington, D.C.-metropolitan area in February 2003, and tens of thousands of egg-laying hens at ISE-America fell victim as the roofs of some sheds at the ISE mega-egg farm in rural Cecilton, Maryland had collapsed due to the snowfall, and hens were trapped inside battery cages, some crushed, others mangled, both housing live and decomposing hens.

Many of the highest cages in the four-tiered sheds were flattened, hens crushed beneath metal sheeting and plywood. Other wire battery cages were smashed, and still live hens were found amidst badly rotting corpses.

 Learn more.


Broiler Farm Investigation

2003-isaDate: 2003

COK investigators found:

- Farms riddled with such filth, ammonia fumes, and other serious air pollution that breathing can be painful and difficult
- A painful slaughter procedure in which the birds are hung upside down, electrocuted into paralysis, and have their throats slit open
- Birds living in their own waste where they cannot escape the high levels of ammonia and bacteria
- Bodies often scalded by ammonia, and many suffering from respiratory infections

Learn more.

 


redbird_investigation_2002

Red Bird Egg Farms

Date: August – November 2002
Facility: Red Bird Egg Farms
Location: Millington, Maryland

COK investigators found:

- Hens in battery cages that never touch the earth and live suspended over unsanitary manure pits
- Unhealthy cysts on many birds
- Overgrown nails, making walking and standing difficult
- Deceased hens discarded like trash


cffCounty Fair Farms

Date: April and May 2002
Facility: County Fair Farms, an egg farm
Location: Westminster, Md.

Using video and still cameras, the investigators documented numerous cases of neglect and animal cruelty including:

- Countless dead hens in cages with live hens
- Hens stuck in the wires of their cages, dying from dehydration
- Hens with serious infections, growths, prolapsed rectums and other health problems
- Hens suffering massive feather-loss

The COK investigators at County Fair Farms openly rescued ten hens from the facility who were in desperate need of immediate veterinary care.


auctionLivestock Auctions

Date: October – December 2001
Location: Maryland

COK conducted an investigation throughout the state of Maryland, documenting the conditions for animals at three livestock auctions: Westminster Livestock Auction, Four State’s Livestock Sales, and Frederick Livestock Auction, all of which are owned by B&J Auctions.

Violence and intimidation toward animals are the norm at livestock auctions.

View the video and learn more.

 


ise_rescue

ISE-America

Date: May 2001
Facility: ISE-America, an egg factory farm
Location: Cecilton, Maryland

COK activists rescued eight hens from ISE-America who were in dire need of veterinary attention. These hens now live in safe homes where they can feel sun on their backs, scratch the earth with their feet, and fulfill their needs and desires, free from the horror of their previous existence. They will never again be abused by the egg industry.

While several of these newly-hatched birds were too sick or injured to survive, more than two dozen were given a new chance at life at a nearby sanctuary.

View the video and learn more.