Last week, PETA Germany released an undercover investigation inside a farm owned by “cage-free” Wiesenhof. The company is a giant producer in the world’s chicken-meat industry, and it sells its chicken flesh worldwide, including right here in the U.S. Undercover footage taken at Wiesenhof’s hatching facilities shows untrained workers breaking chickens’ necks, failing to treat contagious diseases appropriately, and refusing to empty manure pits for 10 months. One worker punched a rooster who tried to escape and later urinated inside the barn next to the animals.
Unlike birds who are fattened and then slaughtered at the age of only 5 weeks, “parent animals” at hatching facilities suffer abuse and neglect for up to 10 months. PETA Germany has filed a legal complaint against Wiesenhof, claiming that the company is guilty of violating the German Animal Welfare Act, German slaughter and transport laws, environmental laws, and laws concerning epidemic outbreaks and hygiene.
Perhaps not coincidentally, Wiesenhof’s parent company, PHW Group, has strong ties to Aviagen—owner of the turkey farms in West Virginia that were the site of PETA’s landmark undercover investigation that led to the first-ever indictments for felony cruelty-to-animals charges for abusing birds as well as the first-ever cruelty convictions of turkey factory-farm workers. The owners of PHW Group and Aviagen’s parent company are brothers. Cruelty apparently runs in the family, and if you aren’t looking to support it, go vegan.
Written by Logan Scherer