Feds Find Over 2,500 Birds Dead on Cold Trucks at Local Slaughterhouse

PETA Asks Commonwealth’s Attorney to Investigate, Pursue Cruelty-to-Animals Charges

For Immediate Release:
April 20, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Shenandoah County, Va.

Armed with U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing that up to 2,525 chickens died at the George’s, Inc., slaughterhouse near Edinburg after being left outside in trailers overnight, PETA sent a letter today to Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney Amanda M. Wiseley urging her to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal charges against the facility and responsible workers.

Federal agents reported finding a dead chicken whose skull had been crushed by a truck and chickens buried alive in a large pile of dead birds. At the George’s slaughterhouse in Harrisonburg, federal inspectors saw 28 chickens who had been plunged into scalding-hot water—where they either burned to death or drowned—and found that “barrels” more animals had suffered the same fate, all in one night. An inspector also found a live bird “buried up to the neck in feathers, feces, and other debris.”

“These reports reveal a horror show—birds were left on trucks in frigid weather, dropped into scalding-hot water, and discarded under piles of bodies,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges anyone who still eats chickens to spare a thought for these birds who endured slow, terrifying deaths and go vegan.”

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 Wiseley follows.

April 20, 2021

The Honorable Amanda M. Wiseley

Shenandoah County Commonwealth’s Attorney

Dear Ms. Wiseley:

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 George’s, LLC, and the workers responsible for leaving thousands of chickens overnight on two trailers—as the temperature dropped to 37 degrees—at its slaughterhouse located at 19992 Senedo Rd., near Edinburg. Up to 2,525 of the animals died as a result. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which PETA just obtained via a public records request.

According to the report, on May 7, 2020, George’s staff notified an FSIS agent that many dead chickens were coming into the part of the facility where birds are hung up for slaughter. The federal inspector went to the trailer being unloaded at the time and saw “mostly dead birds” on one of its tiers. On returning inside the slaughterhouse, the inspector saw “hundreds of dead birds” on tables. Later, the inspector found that 2,525 chickens had been found dead in the “lots” that these trucks were part of and that the majority of those animals had been on two trucks kept in one shed. On May 8, 2020, the slaughterhouse’s manager told FSIS staff that supervisors from George’s, LLC, believed that high winds had turned fans in that shed, funneling cold air in and killing the animals.

This conduct may violate Va. Code § 3.2-6570. 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.

Please let me know if I can assist you.  Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

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