For Immediate Release:
January 30, 2023
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Mount Pleasant, La. – Following a recently published U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing that a Pilgrim’s Pride worker hurled two live chickens against a wall—one after the other—leaving the birds stunned and apparently unable to stand, PETA fired off a letter today to District Attorney David Colley calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the person responsible.
According to the reports, on July 5 a federal inspector at the Pilgrim’s Pride slaughterhouse in Mount Pleasant witnessed a worker forcefully throwing chickens into a wall about 5 feet away, with each bird bouncing roughly 1 to 2 feet “off the wall from the force of momentum.” After falling to the floor, the chickens appeared startled but did not stand up. The incident was captured on the facility’s video footage, and Pilgrim’s Pride management identified the worker.
“If anyone hurled dogs or cats against a wall, they would face charges of cruelty to animals, and chickens suffer the same way and are also protected by law,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the horrific treatment of these birds, who feel pain and fear every bit as much as the animals who share our homes.”
Previous federal reports obtained by PETA reveal a pattern of violations at Pilgrim’s Pride slaughterhouses. Between April and September 2021, the company was warned 17 times—more than any other U.S. poultry operation during the same period—for the mistreatment of birds, including birds drowned in scalding-hot water at the Mount Pleasant facility, thrown “aggressively” at shackles by a worker, and left to die slowly in a fallen container filled with hundreds of live chickens.
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.
January 30, 2023
The Honorable David Colley
76th Judicial District
Dear Mr. Colley:
I’m writing to 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 at 1000 Pilgrim St. in Mount Pleasant. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which the agency just made available to the public.
According to the report, on July 5, 2022, an FSIS inspector saw a worker throw two live chickens against a wall approximately 5 feet away, “one after the other.” According to the federal agent, 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. “Each bird visibly roused but did not stand up when hitting the floor,” according to the report. Pilgrim’s management evidently reviewed video footage that the company had captured of the incident and identified the worker in question.
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 report on the matter carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’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.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department