Compassion Over Killing’s gut-wrenching investigation of Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken producer, prompted groundbreaking firsts in the protection of broiler chickens.
This eye-opening video provided the first investigative look behind the closed doors of broiler breeder factory farms.
Our investigator documented for the first time on hidden-camera the brutal practice of using “nose bones,” stabbing a dull plastic rod through the nostrils of male breeder birds. The powerful footage led Tyson to immediately end the practice, quickly leading Perdue and Wayne Farms to follow suit.
Now, nine former employees of Tyson Foods have been convicted of 22 counts of animal cruelty in the first-ever convictions for cruelty to broiler breeder chickens.
COK’s investigative footage provided evidence that drove multiple trials, convictions and plea agreements over the course of several weeks — the first-ever trials for animal cruelty to chickens raised for meat.
“Compassion Over Killing applauds the prosecution’s work and the decisions from the court to uphold anti-cruelty laws and protect animals from such horrific cruelty to birds as documented by our undercover investigator working for Tyson,” said Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel for Compassion Over Killing. “This is a landmark victory in achieving justice for farm animals.”
Among those convicted was the owner of a farm contracted by Tyson Foods, sentenced to 30 days in jail (suspended) and barred for two years from supervising a chicken production crew.
COK’s video documents Tyson workers punching and kicking live birds, birds crushed to death by transport crates and run over by forklifts, and other horrific cruelty, including a barbaric chicken industry practice — known as “boning” — that had never before been documented on hidden camera.
In a release issued today by the Commonwealth of Virginia, state Attorney General Mark Herring firmly stated, “Mistreatment of animals is both inhumane and illegal, and I’m glad to see the perpetrators of these crimes brought to justice.”
“These convictions send a clear, strong signal across the Commonwealth that my team and I take these crimes seriously, and that those who commit cruelty to animals will be held accountable for their actions.”
– Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring.
While the use of nose “bones” was once widely practiced in the chicken industry, COK’s unprecedented footage of this painful practice prompted a cruelty conviction of one now former Tyson employee, prohibited from working with animals for five years
Prosecuting the cases for the Virginia Office of the Attorney General were Senior Assistant Attorney General Michelle Welch — who also prosecuted in the highly-publicized Michael Vick dogfighting case — and Assistant Attorney General Kelci Block.
For full details on the convictions, see the state’s press release here.
Get an in-depth look at the life and death of broiler chickens at COK’s ChickenIndustry.com and browse chicken-free recipes at TryVeg.com. The best way we can protect chickens, and all animals, is to leave them off our plates!