Buyer Beware: Ducklings Ground Up Alive, Throats Slit at ‘Humane’ Duck Producers

For Immediate Release:
April 5, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Norfolk, Va. – A PETA investigation and recent whistleblower testimony—including photos, video footage, and an affidavit—have stripped away the self-declared “humane” façades of the two largest duck producers in the U.S.: Maple Leaf Farms and Culver Duck Farms, which together account for roughly 85% of all ducks slaughtered in the country.

Maple Leaf slaughters up to 15 million ducks per year, and its subsidiary Down Inc. uses the birds’ feathers for pillows and comforters. At Maple Leaf, workers were caught on video dumping fully conscious ducklings—ones deemed unprofitable—into a macerator and grinding them up. Footage shows workers dropping or flinging hatchlings onto a conveyor belt to be hauled off to massive sheds and killed only months later. The company tells customers on its website that the ducks are “humanely raised” and paints a false, bucolic picture of their lives.

Culver claims that it’s the only duck-meat supplier that’s “American Humane Certified.” American Humane is already accused of “humane washing”—giving cover to commercial companies that treat animals egregiously cruelly and in violation of the law—and at Culver, which slaughters about 6.5 million ducks per year, a whistleblower revealed that birds’ throats were slit while they were fully conscious and live birds were tossed into grinders every day. Meanwhile, so many males were confined to the crowded sheds that female ducks were “gang raped” and left bloody and covered with scabs. An earlier PETA investigation had already revealed that Culver workers slammed ducks’ heads against brick walls as the birds cried out between blows, tried to kill ducks by wringing their necks, and laughed after pulling a baby duck’s head off.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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