A PETA eyewitness investigator worked at Culver Duck Farms, Inc.—which is the second-largest duck processor in the U.S. and based in Middlebury, Indiana. The company oversees 100 contract “growers” (some of them Amish) and slaughters approximately 25,000 ducks every day.
Culver boasted that it is “the only Duck processor approved to sell to Whole Foods,” selling the store duck meat under the Bell & Evans label. It also claimed to supply other grocery chains. It noted that duck feathers “are in high demand for down,” and a supervisor said that the company sends 30,000 pounds of feathers to China each week.
Following PETA’s investigation, Culver replaced many of its dubious claims on its website about the ways that animals are treated with general feel-good language, including “commitment to excellence in animal care.” Does the company really care about animal welfare? Decide for yourself. Here’s what PETA’s eyewitness documented at Culver:
- Despite claims on its website earlier this year that birds are “NOT FACTORY FARMED!!!” Culver crammed up to 4,000 ducks into massive dark sheds. They were denied any opportunity to swim or bathe, which are vital to ducks’ welfare. Some were kept isolated in 1.5-square-foot wire-floored cages for weeks. A supervisor said that Culver was experimenting to see if ducks could be raised in just 1 square foot of space.
- Culver publicized that ducks are given fresh bedding daily, which it claimed was “a difference in the Culver view of husbandry management.” But their bedding was so soaked with urine that the eyewitness often found it difficult to breathe, and the ammonia made workers’ eyes and nostrils burn. After entering one waste-strewn shed, a manager said, “[M]y eyes were watering, so the ammonia was … [r]eally bad.” Ducks lost their chest feathers as a result of ammonia burns, and up to 10 ducklings apparently went blind because of the mucus that was covering their eyes, also caused by ammonia. A worker said that this “happens every year.” Meanwhile, Culver told customers that ventilation and fresh air are “critical” to its farming operations.
And the list goes on and on.
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