Compassion Over Killing files motion in Santa Cruz Superior Court alleging that owner of now-defunct Santa Cruz hatchery is secretly and unlawfully working with animals
For immediate release: November 20, 2014
SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Yesterday, Compassion Over Killing (COK), represented by Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), filed a motion in Santa Cruz Superior Court against Brian Collins, owner of a now-defunct Santa Cruz chicken hatchery that was previously investigated by the animal protection organization.
Undercover video footage taken by a COK investigator who worked inside Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc. (“Cal-Cruz”), owned at the time by Brian Collins, revealed widespread and horrific abuse to newly hatched chicks and ducklings who were bound for the meat industry. The heartbreaking video shows severely injured baby birds who were mangled on machinery casually tossed aside into waste buckets and left to suffer for hours. Eventually, these injured birds along with healthy but unwanted “surplus” chicks were dumped like trash into an often-clogged eggshell disposal chute, where they met a violent death.
These shocking abuses, caught on camera in 2009, went unpunished by the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office, but the video ultimately led to a civil action by COK against Collins for engaging in unlawful business practices—animal cruelty—to gain an unfair advantage in the poultry market. This lawsuit led to a settlement in 2012 that ensured the closure of Cal-Cruz, and prohibited Collins from “owning, possessing, controlling, handling, or being in any way legally responsible for the welfare of animals” for a period of five years.
COK recently obtained strong evidence that Collins has been surreptitiously and unlawfully involved in operating a new hatchery-like business called “Peninsula Poultry” in violation of these terms. Compassion Over Killing now seeks court intervention to prohibit Collins from continuing to work with animals in violation of the settlement agreement and court order, and also seeks sanctions and monetary damages from Collins.
“As uncovered in our investigation, the suffering endured by baby birds inside Cal-Cruz Hatcheries was so horrific, it was a tremendous relief when the facility closed down,” said COK’s Executive Director Erica Meier. “This ongoing case demonstrates that we will not relent in our quest for justice for animals.”
Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a nonprofit animal protection organization working to end the abuse of farmed animals through undercover investigations, litigation, corporate outreach, public education, and other advocacy programs. Online at COK.net.