Investigations

MN: 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.

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NY: Foie Gras Farm

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.

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NJ: Egg Factory Farm

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.

NC: Turkey Hatchery

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

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PA: Egg Factory Farm

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.

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Interstate 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.

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MD: Egg Factory Farm

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

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MD: Slaughter Plant

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

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MD: Egg Factory 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

chickens in factory farm

MD: Egg Factory Farm

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

chickens inside cage

MD: Egg Factory Farm

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.

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inside of chicken factory farm

Multi-State: Broiler Farm

Date: 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

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injured baby chick

MD: Egg Factory Farm

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

chickens

MD: Egg Factory Farm

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

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.

chicken in factory farm

MD: Livestock 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.

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MD: Egg Factory Farm

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.

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