25,000 Birds Denied Food for 48 Hours; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
April 6, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Jefferson County, Ga.

After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture documents revealing that approximately 25,644 chickens were held on trucks without food over two nights at Coastal Processing near Louisville—and that nearly 300 were found dead—PETA sent a letter this morning to Jefferson County Solicitor Dalton D. Dowdy requesting a criminal probe and applicable charges under Georgia’s cruelty-to-animals law.

The documents reveal additional violations of federal law at Coastal Processing. Federal staff saw live chickens being scalded and drowned to death on three different days—and found that the worker expected to cut the birds’ throats had so much blood covering their face shield that they had difficulty identifying chickens who were still alive. Federal staff also found a chicken being smothered and crushed in a pile of dead birds on the floor and another live chicken in a bin of dead birds.

“These reports reveal birds starving on trucks, drowning in scalding water, and suffocating under other chickens’ bodies,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges anyone who still eats chickens to remember these birds’ slow, terrifying deaths—and opt for a vegan meal instead.”

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 Dowdy follows.

April 6, 2021

The Honorable Dalton D. Dowdy

Jefferson County Solicitor

Dear Mr. Dowdy:

We’re writing to request that your office (and the local law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Coastal Processing, LLC, and the workers responsible for denying 25,644 chickens food for approximately 48 hours—leaving nearly 300 of them dead—in January 2020 at its slaughterhouse located at 1670 Forstmann Rd., near Louisville. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which PETA just obtained via a public records request.

According to the report, the chickens arrived at the slaughterhouse on January 25, but a drainage problem at the facility slowed slaughter operations. Rather than returning them to farms, Coastal Processing staff allegedly elected to keep the more than 25,000 animals on seven trucks on its property until starting to slaughter them on January 27. In the intervening 48 hours, the chickens were denied food, and at least 286 were later found dead, according to an FSIS veterinarian.

This conduct may violate Georgia Code § 16-12-4 (b) (2). The action from FSIS shows that this neglect doesn’t constitute agricultural and food processing practices that are permitted under federal or state law, which are otherwise exempt from prosecution. Importantly, FSIS action doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouses or their workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.

Please let us know how we can assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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