PETA Set to Warn Tyson Shareholders of Shocking Slaughterhouse Violations

For Immediate Release:
February 8, 2022

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Springdale, Ark. – “Given that Tyson has a grim track record of slaughterhouse violations and that producing vegan meats eliminates the risk of more harm, what is Tyson doing to hasten the transition to producing only vegan foods?” That’s the question a representative of PETA, which bought stock in Tyson early in the pandemic, will ask executives at the company’s virtual annual meeting on Thursday after PETA obtained damning documents that found multiple and flagrant violations at Tyson slaughterhouses nationwide.

PETA recently obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documents from April through September 2021 revealing 15 slaughter violations of federal law at 11 Tyson operations—more than any other U.S. poultry company during that period. According to the reports, chickens drowned as they were burned to death in scalding-hot water at slaughterhouses in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. In Waldron, Arkansas, a federal official found chickens struggling as their heads were half-submerged in electrified water, which the USDA described as “undue suffering.”

In Missouri, an employee was caught throwing live birds at a coworker’s feet. In Mississippi and Virginia, live birds were found in vats of dead ones. A USDA official observed shackled chickens with broken necks and flapping wings at an Arkansas facility, where inspectors also found a bird who had been crushed and suffocated in a wire cage.

PETA notes that Tyson already offers a vegan line, Raised & Rooted—and that the demand for vegan meats is continuing to rise, with the global vegan meat market expected to top $13 billion by 2026.

“The more consumers learn how animals endure agonizing pain and wretched deaths in slaughterhouses, the more they’ll choose vegan options rooted in compassion,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA is urging Tyson to get out of the slaughter business and help keep cruelty off people’s plates by producing only the vegan meats that today’s kind families want.”

Early in the pandemic, PETA purchased stock in Tyson, Hormel, Sanderson Farms, Maple Leaf Foods, Kraft Heinz (parent company of Oscar Mayer), and Chinese-owned WH Group (owner of Smithfield Foods)—all with the aim of urging them to switch to producing vegan meats.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview that fosters violence toward other animals. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

The text of PETA’s full shareholder question follows.

2022 Tyson Annual Meeting Question

Hi. I’m Carrie, here on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. PETA obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that recently became publicly available, revealing that between April and September 2021, Tyson was warned more frequently about the mistreatment of birds in its slaughterhouses than any other U.S. poultry company.

Tyson racked up 15 of these violations at 11 different slaughterhouses. According to the reports, live chickens drowned in scalding-hot water at slaughterhouses in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Texas. In Waldron, Arkansas, a federal official found chickens struggling as their heads were half submerged in electrified water, which the USDA described as “undue suffering.”

In Missouri, a worker tossed live birds at another worker’s feet. In Mississippi and Virginia, live birds were found in vats of dead ones. A USDA official observed shackled chickens with broken necks and flapping wings in a Nashville, Arkansas, facility, where a bird who had suffocated and been crushed in a wire cage was also found.

These reports paint a stark picture of the chickens’ final moments. However, Tyson never faced any repercussions for these repeated problems. No amount of oversight or regulation can make this process humane, and many companies are changing their business practices in order to reduce their negative impact on animals, the planet, and human health.

So my question is this: Given that Tyson has a grim track record of slaughterhouse violations and that producing vegan meats eliminates the risk of more harm, what is Tyson doing to hasten the transition to producing only vegan foods?

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind