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Heat-Related Deaths Were Preventable, Says Group
For Immediate Release:August
Contact:David Perle 202-483-7382
Seymour, Ind. -- Following
the deaths from heat prostration of approximately 300,000 egg-laying hens at a
Rose Acre Farms facility near Seymour, Ind.—which reportedly lacks the cooling
devices used by other facilities, including some of its own—PETA has written to
the Jackson County Sheriff's Office to ask for an investigation into the deaths
and for criminal charges to be filed against all culpable parties if warranted.
As PETA points out in its letter, failing to provide the chickens with relief
from 100-degree temperatures appears to constitute a knowing violation of
Indiana's anti-cruelty statute—especially since Rose Acre staff acknowledged
that hens died under similar conditions in 1995. Chickens are no different from
dogs under the law, and they have the capacity to suffer just as much.
isn't the first time that Rose Acre Farms essentially sentenced hens to a slow,
painful death," says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations
Daphna Nachminovitch. "PETA would like the Sheriff's Office to ensure that
those responsible for these hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths
recognize that birds are covered under Indiana's cruelty-to-animals law."
more information, please visit PETA.org.
letter to the Jackson County Sheriff's Office follows.
Sheriff Mike CarothersJackson County Sheriff's Office
We hope this letter finds you well. This
communication serves as a request for your office to investigate and, as
appropriate, bring criminal charges against Rose Acre Farms, Inc. (hereinafter,
"Rose Acre"), and those responsible for reportedly depriving
approximately 300,000 egg-laying hens this summer of proper care, leaving the
animals to die of apparent heat stress. The animals evidently died over the
course of three days at Rose Acre's Cort Acres facility, 4887 E. County Rd. 800 N., outside Seymour. The facility
apparently lacks the cooling mechanisms that Rose Acre's operations in warmer
climates reportedly include.
this appears to violate IC 35-46-3-7, which provides that one who recklessly or
knowingly abandons or neglects any vertebrate animal—such as a chicken—commits
cruelty to an animal. See also, Reynolds v. State of Ind., 569
N.E.2d 680, 682 (Ind. Ct. App. 1991), which held that a jury could properly
find that a defendant neglected animals—including dogs, cats, rabbits, foxes,
tarantulas, and snakes—by keeping them in an inhumanely hot environment. Given
Rose Acre Chief Operating Officer Tony Wesner's reported acknowledgment that
many of the company's hens died in similar conditions 17 years ago, Rose
Acre could not have reasonably believed that hens were capable of surviving
this year's heat without further provisions and thus are not due the defense to
prosecution afforded by IC 35-46-3-7 (b).
Indiana law does not define the acceptable farm management practices that IC
35-46-3-5 (5) exempts from prosecution as cruelty to animals, Rose Acre's
reported omission falls outside its industry's practices, established by
the United Egg Producers (UEP). UEP's Animal Husbandry Guidelines for U.S.
Egg Laying Flocks 2010 Edition (attached) states that hen housing should be
constructed and maintained to provide protection from environmental extremes
and that environmental conditions within sheds should allow hens to maintain
their normal body temperature. Please note that Rose Acre advertises its eggs
as UEP-certified on its website.
you for your time and consideration.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.