Feds Find Birds Scalded to Death, Buried Alive at Allen Harim—PETA Seeks Investigation

For Immediate Release:
April 8, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Harbeson, Del.

Armed with U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing that the Allen Harim Foods slaughterhouse was cited for 16 violations of federal law in less than three months after chickens were scalded to death or drowned on at least 11 different days and buried alive in piles of dead chickens and feces, PETA sent a letter this morning to David Weiss, U.S. attorney for the District of Delaware, urging him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal charges against the facility and the workers involved.

“Chickens are covered under state law. They also feel pain, yet these birds were routinely plunged into boiling water while still alive at Allen Harim,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Systemic suffering like this calls for an investigation, and PETA encourages the public to take effective action, too, simply by eating vegan meals.”

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 David Weiss follows.

April 8, 2021

The Honorable David C. Weiss

U.S. Attorney

District of Delaware

Dear Mr. Weiss:

We’re writing to request that your office investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Allen Harim Foods, LLC, and the workers responsible for at least 16 violations of the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) between January 6 and March 23, 2020, at its chicken slaughterhouse located at 18752 Harbeson Rd. in Sussex County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which PETA just obtained via a public records request.

According to the reports, chickens were drowned and/or scalded to death on at least 11 days during this period, including after having been cut across their head and near their beak, instead of across the carotid arteries. Federal staff reported repeatedly finding live chickens buried among dead ones, including in a bin and in a pile of carcasses, and feces piled nearly 2 feet high. When an FSIS agent approached an apparent slaughterhouse worker after one such discovery, the worker apparently replied that the “high volume of” chickens arriving dead to the slaughterhouse did not leave “enough room” on a sorting table to observe the animals and “ensure that they [were] not alive” before discarding them. On another day, a federal inspector found three chickens dead in water in a drain, where they had evidently drowned.

21 U.S. Code § 461 (a) provides penalties of imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for such conduct. That mistreatment of live chickens persisted at this slaughterhouse shows that FSIS enforcement actions are insufficient to deter future violations and that criminal prosecution is in the best interests of the animals killed there and the public.

Please let us know if we can assist your office. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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