New Hotline Empowers Whistleblowers to Report Animal Cruelty, Workers’ Rights Abuses, and More
October 26, 2017 — A multi-language campaign has been launched by the national nonprofit Compassion Over Killing (COK) in North Carolina to offer factory farm and slaughterhouse whistleblowers a safe and secure hotline to report animal cruelty, workers’ rights abuses, food safety risks, and environmental violations.
Billboards featuring the confidential hotline — 1-800-65-FARM-TIPS — have already reached more than 400,000 people in top poultry-producing states Arkansas and Georgia, and new signs have now been placed in Monroe, NC. Online reports can also be submitted at FarmTips.org.
“Animal agribusiness is a profit-driven industry that operates behind closed doors, hiding the abuses it forces upon animals, the dangers it poses to workers, and the destruction it causes to the environment. Whistleblowers can pull back that curtain to shine a light on these hidden horrors,” says Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing.
A 2017 report from the National Employment Law Project, tracking severe workplace injuries January 2015-September 2016, stated, “The number of incidents reported by the meat and poultry processing industry is startling.” Major chicken producers Tyson and Pilgrim’s Pride/JBS ranked at #4 and #6, respectively, for the most amputations, hospitalizations, or other similarly serious injuries.
“Farm workers may be hesitant to report violations, including animal abuse, to their employers for fear of losing their jobs. That’s why Compassion Over Killing is offering a safe and anonymous resource for these concerned whistleblowers,” adds Meier.
Animal agribusiness has flexed its lobbying muscles to create another obstacle for individuals who may document cruelty on factory farms: “Ag-gag” laws that criminalize undercover investigations have been passed in several states, including North Carolina and Arkansas.
In 2015, as North Carolina’s ag-gag law made its way through the state legislature, a COK investigator documented egregious cruelty inside a Mountaire Farms chicken slaughterhouse in Robeson County, revealing birds violently thrown, punched, and shoved, and forcefully slammed into shackles. Sick or injured birds were simply discarded in piles of dead or dying birds.
Investigations like this have shown the importance of whistleblowers in exposing the truth kept hidden by animal agribusiness to the public.
COK is working at the forefront of the movement to protect broiler chickens. Gut-wrenching footage filmed by a COK investigator working at Tyson Foods offered the first undercover look inside broiler breeder factory farms; exposed the brutal practice of using “nose bones” for the first time on hidden camera (ending the practice at Tyson, Perdue, Wayne Farms, and House of Raeford); and last month, resulted in unprecedented charges and convictions for cruelty to chickens.
Tracking an industry that slaughters nearly 9 billions animals each year, COK’s ChickenIndustry.com provides an evolving and in-depth look at the lives and deaths of broiler chickens.
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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. https://cok.net