Santa Cruz

COK Uncovers Cruelty to Chicks & Ducklings: Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Closes Down

Using a hidden camera, a COK investigator documented shocking abuses forced upon newly-hatched chicks and ducklings while employed at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries in 2009. The video evidence was immediately turned over to the Santa Cruz County Animal Services Authority and the District Attorney’s Office. In response, a follow-up investigation conducted by humane law enforcement not only corroborated our evidence of abuse and neglect but also resulted in the impoundment of 88 ducklings.  Many of these rescued birds were given a second chance at life at an area sanctuary, though others were too sick or injured to survive.

Despite our strong evidence of abuse combined with additional information gathered through the Animal Services Authority’s own investigation, the District Attorney’s office sat on this case for a year and then declined to prosecute. COK issued a statement to set the record straight.

That’s when Compassion Over Killing decided to seek justice for these birds by taking legal action against Cal-Cruz Hatcheries—read about our legal case, successful settlement, and subsequent legal activity.

Caught on Camera: Inside the Hatchery

While employed as a maintenance worker at California-based Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc. for nearly a month in 2009, COK’s investigator witnessed and painstakingly documented miserable conditions forced upon thousands of newly hatched birds, including:

  • A chick drowning in a bucket of liquid waste
  • Birds entangled in machinery, their dead bodies mangled, decapitated, or missing limbs
  • 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