Birds Left to Die on Truck at Slaughterhouse; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
January 24, 2022

David Perle 202-483-7382

Talladega County, Ala. – After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documentation revealing that workers at the Marble City Meats slaughterhouse outside Sylacauga left 16 turkeys to die of apparent heat stress last summer, PETA sent a letter today to Talladega County District Attorney Steven D. Giddens calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.

According to the report, a USDA inspector found turkeys dead, dying, and standing on others’ corpses in a trailer outside the slaughterhouse on August 16, 2021, and notified slaughterhouse staff—but instead of unloading the birds, workers carried on slaughtering nine crates’ worth of chickens (up to 108 birds). Eventually, 16 of the 45 turkeys packed inside the trailer were found to have died, which the slaughterhouse’s owner attributed to the hot weather and the crowded conditions. The owner also admitted that workers should have prioritized removing the turkeys.

“If anyone left more than a dozen dogs to die in a hot trailer, they would face multiple charges of cruelty to animals, and turkeys 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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Giddens follows.

January 24, 2022

The Honorable Steven D. Giddens

District Attorney

29th Judicial Circuit

Dear Mr. Giddens:

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 Marble City Meats, LLC, and the workers responsible for causing 16 turkeys to die of apparent heat stress while crammed on a trailer at 514 Odena Rd. N., near Sylacauga. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which the agency just made available to the public.

According to the report, on August 16, 2021, an FSIS inspector found dead turkeys—and others dying and standing on dead birds—on a trailer at the property and notified Marble City Meats staff. Despite knowing of these birds’ plight, workers proceeded instead to slaughter up to 108 chickens. Eventually, 16 of 45 turkeys on the trailer were found to have died, which the slaughterhouse’s owner attributed to how severely crowded the birds were on a particularly hot day. The owner also told the federal officer that workers should have prioritized removing the turkeys.

This conduct may violate Code of Alabama § 13A-11-14. Please note that FSIS’ action doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouses or their workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty against animals.

Please let me know if I can assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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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