Feds Find Thousands of Birds Frozen to Death; PETA Calls For Criminal Charges and Livestreaming Operations

For Immediate Release:
April 17, 2023

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Mt. Pleasant, La.

PETA has just obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report revealing that a federal agent found that nearly 36,000 chickens had died on tractor trailers carrying them to Pilgrim’s Pride on a single day in December—the latest in a string of horrors involving the company’s Mount Pleasant slaughterhouses. In response, today the group fired off a letter to District Attorney David Colley urging him to investigate and a letter to Pilgrim’s Pride President and Global CEO Fabio Sandri, calling on him to livestream video footage from the company’s Mount Pleasant slaughterhouses and contracted haulers’ trucks and factory farms to help prevent additional egregious suffering.

As temperatures dropped to 10 degrees Fahrenheit and below on December 22, a federal inspector first observed dead birds “too numerous to count” who had arrived at the Monticello Road slaughterhouse, noting that many birds’ heads were “stuck between the bars of the cages.” The inspector later determined that over 15,000 chickens had arrived dead during the night shift and nearly 21,000 had arrived dead during the day shift.

“Chickens are sentient beings, not commodities, and they should never be exposed to excruciating, freezing temperatures,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the DA to investigate and on Pilgrim’s Pride to livestream all of its operations publicly.”

In January, PETA pressed Colley to file criminal charges after an inspector saw a worker at the Pilgrim Street slaughterhouse throwing chickens into a wall about 5 feet away, with each bird bouncing “off the wall from the force.” Live chickens were repeatedly plunged into scalding water, and a live bird was found among dead birds at that slaughterhouse as well.

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

PETA’s letter to Colley follows.

April 17, 2023

The Honorable David Colley

District Attorney

76th Judicial District

Dear Mr. Colley:

I’m writing to follow up on my January 30 request that your office (and a local law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individual responsible for throwing two live chickens against a wall, with remarkable force, at the Pilgrim’s Pride Corporation slaughterhouse located on Pilgrim Street in Mount Pleasant.

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented another egregious incident in the attached report, which the agency just made available to the public and which merits immediate criminal investigation. According to the latest report, more than 35,000 chickens died while being transported on December 22, 2022, to the Pilgrim’s Pride slaughterhouse on Monticello Road in Mount Pleasant. After becoming concerned about the increasing number of dead-on-arrival chickens there, an inspector saw chickens who “had frozen due to the low index temperature at that time which was 10 degrees Fahrenheit and dropping.” The inspector saw dead chickens “too numerous to count” on trailers and concluded, “There were 15,045 Dead on arrivals for the night shift … [and] 20924 Dead On Arrivals … for the day shift.”

This follows the July 5, 2022, incident I had reported to you, in which an inspector saw a worker throw two live chickens against a wall approximately 5 feet away. Each bird “bounced off the wall from the force of momentum,” traveled another 1 to 2 feet in the opposite direction, and fell to the floor.

This conduct does not represent the otherwise-exempt “generally accepted and otherwise lawful … agriculture practice involving livestock animals” and thus may violate Texas Penal Code § 42.09. Please note that FSIS’ simple reports on the matters carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for cruelty to animals. Thank you for your time and consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

Get the Latest Tips—Right in Your Inbox
We’ll e-mail you weekly with the latest in vegan recipes, fashion, and more!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.