For Immediate Release:
January 25, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Berks County, Pa. – After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents revealing that workers left hundreds of chickens to die on trucks and threw ducks into the air at two Berks County slaughterhouses, PETA sent a letter today to District Attorney John T. Adams, calling on him to investigate and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.
According to the reports, on July 26, 2021, a USDA inspector found that approximately 250 chickens had died of apparent heat stress at Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp. and that the survivors were “panting.” A slaughterhouse representative admitted that birds had been left too long in crowded conditions in the nearly 90-degree heat. The same day, a worker reportedly picked up chickens by their necks and “flung” them into cages. On September 9, 2021, federal inspectors found at least 200 dead chickens on a trailer.
On July 9, 2021, a federal agent saw workers at Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd., near Hamburg, throwing ducks approximately 3 feet into the air, noting that he or she had previously spoken multiple times to the slaughterhouse’s management about the same issue. The inspector also witnessed workers “tossing” injured ducks into a truck.
“If anyone left hundreds of dogs to die in a hot trailer or flung cats into cages, they would face charges of cruelty to animals, and chickens and ducks 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 Adams follows.
January 25, 2022
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 Birdsboro Kosher Farms Corp.; Joe Jurgielewicz & Son, Ltd.; and the workers responsible for leaving hundreds of birds to die on trucks and throwing them in local slaughterhouses. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which the agency just made available to the public.
According to the reports, on July 26, 2021, an FSIS inspector found that approximately 250 chickens had died of apparent heat stress at Birdsboro Kosher Farms, located at 1100 Lincoln Rd., near Birdsboro. That day, the temperature approached 90 degrees, and the federal agent noted that survivors were “panting.” A facility representative told the FSIS official that “some of the trucks … waited too long” in the heat at the slaughterhouse. The same day, a Birdsboro Kosher Farms 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.
On July 9, 2021, a federal agent saw Joe Jurgielewicz & Son workers “tossing … ducks approximately 3 feet” in the company’s slaughterhouse, located at 189 Cheese Ln., near Hamburg. The agent wrote, “This has been happening frequently, I have spoken to management many times about this exact issue.” The inspector also saw workers “tossing” injured ducks into a truck.
This conduct may violate 18 Pa.C.S. § 5533 and 18 Pa.C.S. § 5532. 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. To learn more about FSIS’ findings, please contact Acting District Manager Michael Osifat. 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