For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2023
David Perle 202-483-7382
Birdsboro, Pa. – Following a just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report that documents workers leaving over 1,200 chickens on trailers to die of apparent heat stress over two days at the Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp. slaughterhouse, PETA sent a letter this morning to District Attorney John T. Adams calling on him to investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against those responsible.
According to the report, on July 18, 2022, an inspector first notified staff of concerns for over 20,000 chickens held on trailers there, given the “increasing heat of the day.” More than two hours later, as birds were “panting” and dying at an “increased” rate, the inspector alerted staff again to the risks. Despite the USDA “continually” expressing concerns to Birdsboro, about 1,230 chickens died. PETA’s letter notes a pattern of violations at the slaughterhouse. On July 26, 2021, around 250 chickens also died of apparent heat stress at Birdsboro, and that same day, a worker reportedly picked up chickens by their necks and “flung” them into cages. On September 9, 2021, the USDA found at least 200 dead chickens on a trailer, where just one of eight to 10 birds was still alive in severely crowded cages.
“Chickens have been repeatedly left to die in sweltering trailers, and others were tossed around without thought or care,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of all the animals who have suffered egregiously at this chronic offender.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—points out that chickens, turkeys, cows, sheep, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do. The group is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse since at least 2007.
PETA’s letter to Adams follows.
January 25, 2023
The Honorable John T. Adams
Berks County District Attorney
Dear Mr. Adams:
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 those responsible for leaving nearly 1,500 chickens to die of heat stress and flinging others into cages at Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp., located at 1100 Lincoln Rd., near Birdsboro. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the latest incidents in the attached report, which the agency just made available to the public.
According to the reports, on July 18, 2022, at about 11 a.m., an FSIS inspector first notified Birdsboro personnel of concerns about approximately 20,220 chickens held on trailers there, given the “increasing heat of the day.” More than two hours later, as birds were “panting” and dying at an “increased” rate, the FSIS inspector reiterated these concerns. Of the approximately 9,900 birds ultimately slaughtered on that day, 8.5% of them—some 772 chickens—were found to have died on the trailers. Of the 3,128 further chickens held overnight at Birdsboro into July 19, 14.7% of them—an additional 459 animals—were found dead that day. In sum, about 1,230 chickens died in trailers over the two days of apparent heat stress, even though FSIS staff “continually” expressed concerns to Birdsboro.
Similarly, on July 26, 2021, approximately 250 chickens died of apparent heat stress at Birdsboro. That day, the temperature approached 90 degrees, and a facility representative told FSIS that “some of the trucks … waited too long” in the heat at the slaughterhouse. The same day, a Birdsboro worker reportedly picked up chickens by their necks and “flung” them into cages. On September 9, 2021, FSIS staff found at least 200 dead chickens on a trailer, where just one of eight to 10 birds was still alive in severely crowded cages.
This conduct may violate 18 Pa.C.S. § 5533 and 18 Pa.C.S. § 5532. Please note that FSIS’ simple report on these matters carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for cruelty to animals. Thank you for your time and consideration and for the important work that you do.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department