Birds Denied Water, Food for Days; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
January 27, 2022

Contact:
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Springdale, Ark. – After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documentation revealing that slaughterhouse workers left caged chickens to languish without food or water for three days at George’s Processing in Springdale, PETA sent a letter today to Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.

According to the report, a federal inspector found two dehydrated chickens caged in a trailer at the slaughterhouse on April 19, 2021, and determined that the birds had arrived there on April 16. They’d been without water or food and exposed to temperatures ranging from 34 to 81 degrees.

Additional records show that the USDA cited Springdale-based Tyson Foods a total of 15 times at 11 different chicken slaughterhouses between April and September 2021—more than any other U.S. poultry company during that period. Birds were scalded to death in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. In Arkansas, birds were left to drown in a vat of electrified water and a chicken was crushed and suffocated in a cage; in Missouri, a worker tossed live chickens at the feet of a coworker; and at facilities in Mississippi and Virginia, inspectors found live birds discarded in vats of dead birds.

“If anyone left caged dogs to languish without food or water for days, 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 fate of these birds, who felt 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 Cate follows.

January 27, 2022

The Honorable Ernest Cate

Springdale City Attorney

Dear Mr. Cate:

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 George’s Processing, Inc., and the worker(s) responsible for abandoning caged chickens without water or food for three days at its slaughterhouse located at 1306 N. Kansas St. in Springdale. 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 attached table.)

According to the report, on April 19, 2021, at approximately 8:40 a.m., an FSIS inspector found two chickens caged on an empty trailer at the slaughterhouse. The inspector determined that the birds had arrived at the slaughterhouse prior to 12:48 p.m. on April 16—and had been caged without water or food since then and exposed to temperatures ranging from 34 to 81 degrees. The federal agent noted that the birds were dehydrated. (Since feed is withdrawn from chickens up to 18 hours prior to their transport, these birds were likely denied food for four days.)

This conduct may violate A.C.A. § 5-62-103. 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 Jeffery Barham. Please let me know if I can assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.

Sincerely,

Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind