Least Cruel Death Sought for 2 Million Delmarva Chickens

For Immediate Release:
April 13, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Millsboro, Del.

Following reports that because of short staffing, Millsboro-based Allen Harim Foods, LLC, will kill 2 million chickens without processing their bodies for human consumption, PETA sent an urgent letter today calling on the company to ensure that the birds will be killed using only means approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for non-emergencies.

“These millions of chickens don’t deserve be tossed into an old wood chipper or struck with a two-by-four, as PETA has documented in other ‘depopulation’ efforts,” says PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch. “The law, veterinary guidance, and common decency all mandate that the chickens receive the quickest and least cruel death possible.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—notes that the COVID-19 pandemic responsible for Allen Harim’s short staffing originated in a meat market. Health authorities confirm that influenza viruses and coronaviruses are zoonotic (transmissible from other animals to humans), and previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens.

For more information, visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Michele V. Minton, director of live operations for Allen Harim Foods, LLC, follows.

April 13, 2020

Michele V. Minton

Director of Live Operations

Allen Harim Foods, LLC

Dear Ms. Minton,

We respectfully request your immediate attention. PETA understands that Allen Harim Foods, LLC, has started to kill up to 2 million young chickens on farms, whom your company isn’t planning to slaughter at your plant. We urgently seek confirmation that only killing methods approved by the American Veterinary Medical Association for non-emergencies will be used and that this undertaking will be done with appropriate respect and diligence.

Because this is not an emergency situation—in which, say, chickens are suffering and dying because of a disease outbreak or natural disaster—please verify that Allen Harim will not use water-based foam to smother these birds. Such deaths are particularly terrifying and slow—federal standards allow some chickens to survive foaming for up to 14 minutes. Similarly, caring individuals, including those of us at PETA, request that you confirm that you won’t cut these birds’ throats or decapitate them while they’re conscious or shut off all ventilation in your contractors’ sheds and raise the heat (which is known as “ventilation shutdown plus”) to kill birds slowly and painfully by means of heatstroke and suffocation.

Please give us your assurance that workers will continue to treat birds with respect and be continuously supervised by management. Those who care about these birds’ welfare want to know that your staff members are properly trained in the use of containerized gassing, cervical dislocation, and captive-bolt guns to kill these animals as quickly as possible and with the least possible stress. May we also have your word that workers will confirm that each individual chicken is dead prior to disposal and rapidly destroy any surviving birds in an acceptable and lawful manner?

In addition to legal and veterinary requirements, common decency demands that you give these chickens—who have suffered day and night in severely crowded, ammonia-ridden sheds and to whom you owe your livelihood—the quickest, most painless, and most humane death possible. Having been denied everything that’s natural and important to them—such as seeing the sun, breathing fresh air, roosting in trees, and building their own social structure—these animals surely deserve better than being treated as if they were old tree branches that can be tossed into a wood chipper or struck with two-by-fours as if they were baseballs. PETA has documented such atrocities in other “depopulation” efforts.

Thank you for your time. Our members and supporters look forward to your response.


Dan Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

cc:       Key U. Lee, Ph.D., CEO and President, Allen Harim Foods, LLC

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.