Tyson Slaughterhouse Worker Crushes and Kills Chickens With Forklift; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
May 28, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Springdale, Ark.

A just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report reveals that a worker at the Tyson Foods Inc. slaughterhouse in Springdale repeatedly drove a forklift over a cage full of chickens, crushing and killing most of them. In response, PETA sent a letter today to Springdale City Attorney Ernest Cate urging him to investigate and file criminal charges against those responsible.

According to the report, on December 20 the forklift driver ran over the caged chickens approximately three times, badly damaging the cage and causing the plastic dividers to cave in. The inspector noted that “numerous birds had their feet and or neck stuck between the cracks of the dividers,” “50–70% of the birds showed no signs of movement or alertness,” and one bird’s intestines could be seen sticking out of their rectum.

“At this hellhole for animals, a worker barbarically crushed multiple vulnerable birds to death in full view of a federal inspector,” says PETA Vice President of Legal Advocacy Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of these chickens and urges everyone to please go vegan, to help save animals from the horrors of the slaughterhouse.”

PETA is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse since at least 2007.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. PETA’s free vegan starter kit is filled with tips to help anyone looking to make the switch.

For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Cate follows:

May 28, 2024

The Honorable Ernest Cate

Springdale City Attorney

Dear Mr. Cate:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individual responsible for driving a forklift over caged chickens—killing most of them—at the Tyson Foods Inc. slaughterhouse located at 600 N. Berry St. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 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 December 20, 2023, an FSIS inspector “observed a cage full of birds on the floor” while “an employee driving a forklift proceeded to use his forklift to roll over the cage approximately [three] times.” After the crushing impacts, “the plastic dividers were caved in and cracked causing birds from top layers to fall on to birds from the bottom layers” and “numerous birds had their feet and or neck stuck between the cracks of the dividers.” The inspector noted that “[a]pproximately 50–70% of the birds showed no signs of movement or alertness with their eyes shut due to … being crushed.” One bird on the bottom layer was lying “on [their] back showing no sign of movement … and with … intestines sticking out [their] rectum.” Tyson management apparently identified the suspect.

For more details on this incident, please contact FSIS Office of Field Operations District Manager Jeffery Barham.

This conduct may violate Arkansas Code § 5-62-103. Importantly, FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals. Given that FSIS hasn’t initiated a criminal prosecution for inhumane handling at a licensed slaughterhouse since at least 2007, charges under state law are these victims’ only chance at a measure of justice.

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


Elise Fisher

Evidence Analyst

Cruelty Investigations Department


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