Deadly Barn Fire in Bremen Prompts PETA Memorial for Chickens

For Immediate Release:
October 4, 2023

Brittney Williams 202-483-7382

Bremen, Ky. – In honor of the 100,000 birds who burned to death after a Cal-Maine Foods egg-laying facility caught fire on Sunday, PETA plans to place a sky-high memorial in the area pointing out who’s responsible for their deaths: everyone who isn’t vegan.

PETA notes that birds frequently die in agony at Cal-Maine facilities—for instance, a fire at another location killed 250,000 birds in 2020. A previous PETA investigation into Mahard Egg Farm—which is owned by Cal-Maine—revealed workers beating and gassing chickens before throwing them into trucks. And in 2017, PETA received video footage showing Cal-Maine workers dumping scores of chickens—some of them still alive—into a dump truck, according to a witness.

“Each of these chickens was an individual who died in terror and pain, engulfed by smoke and flames,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA urges everyone to take a stand against Cal-Maine’s wretched history and prevent birds from being crammed into warehouses in the first place by going vegan.”

Hens used for egg production are confined to cramped barns, where each bird typically has no more than a square foot of space. When hens’ bodies wear out and they’re no longer considered profitable, egg producers stuff them into metal boxes and crudely gas them with carbon dioxide, which is distressing and painful—or send them to slaughterhouses, where workers cut their throats, often while they’re still conscious, and scald many to death in defeathering tanks.

Each person who goes vegan spares nearly 200 animals every year; reduces their own risk of suffering from cancer, heart disease, strokes, diabetes, and obesity; and dramatically shrinks their carbon footprint.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers a free vegan starter kit on its website. For more information, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

For Media: Contact PETA's
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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