For Immediate Release:
January 21, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Cold Spring, Minn. – After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents revealing that workers at the Pilgrim’s Pride slaughterhouse in Cold Spring left 190 chickens to die slowly inside a fallen container, PETA sent a letter today to Stearns County Attorney Janelle P. Kendall, calling on her to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.
According to the report, a container confining hundreds of live chickens “flipped” onto its side on May 20, 2021, forcing the birds to “stack on one another” and killing at least five who fell about 15 feet into a pit. Other chickens were left “hanging by heads, wings or upside down by legs” and panting, crying out, and flapping their wings in distress. Pilgrim’s Pride workers took 35 minutes to right the container and even longer to remove the birds, during which time the USDA inspector saw at least six birds stop breathing and die. Altogether, “[n]o fewer than 190 birds from this [container] were … dead,” wrote the inspector.
“If anyone left nearly 200 dogs to die in a fallen heap inside a massive crate, they would face multiple charges of cruelty to animals, and chickens suffer the same way and are also protected by law,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the horrific fates of these birds, who feel pain and fear every bit as much as the animals who share our homes.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Kendall follows.
January 21, 2022
The Honorable Janelle P. Kendall
Stearns County Attorney
Dear Ms. Kendall:
I’m writing to request that your office (and the local law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation and the workers responsible for leaving 190 chickens to die slowly at its slaughterhouse located at 851 Sauk River Rd. in Cold Spring. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident, which the agency just made available to the public. (See the first row in the table in the attached report.)
According to the report, on May 20, a container confining hundreds of chickens “flipped” onto its side, “forcing all the birds … to … stack on one another” and killing at least five who fell about 15 feet into a pit. Other live chickens were left “hanging by heads, wings or upside down by legs” and in distress, “with open mouth breathing, dilated pupils, vocalizing, and increased respiratory rates, and wing flapping.” Pilgrim’s Pride workers took 35 minutes to right the container and even more time to remove the birds. “No fewer than 190 birds from this [container] were … dead,” according to an FSIS inspector.
This conduct may violate Minnesota Statutes § 343.21. Please note that FSIS’ action doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouses or their workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals. For more information on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls.
Please let me know if I can assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department