PETA Investigation Reveals Live Hens Caged Amid Rotting Corpses on Massive Egg Factory Farm That Supplies Walmart
For Immediate Release:
July 15, 2020
David Perle 202-483-7382
Sioux Center, Iowa – A new PETA undercover investigation inside an Ohio farm managed by Sioux Center–based Versova Holdings—the third-largest U.S. egg producer—reveals widespread, severe abuse of laying hens, including pulling on and twisting their heads over and over again in a failed attempt to break their necks. In just 18 days at the Ohio farm, whose eggs are sold widely under Walmart’s “Great Value” brand, PETA’s investigator found hundreds of dead hens, many of whom were left to decompose alongside the survivors in small, cramped cages. In response, PETA is calling on Walmart to reassess its relationship with the company.
In one incident documented on video, PETA’s investigator found a severely injured hen still alive in a trash bin. A supervisor had clumsily attempted but failed to kill the hen then let her languish for two more days before another worker finally killed her. Yet another worker was seen pulling a live hen’s head off. Birds had no place to stand, sit, or lie down except on the bare wire flooring of the cages, and many were missing feathers, often the result of stress-induced self-mutilation or fighting, as each bird had less than a square foot of space. A deafeningly loud leaf blower was used to remove loose feathers and dust, causing the trapped birds to panic in the small cages and crash against the wire walls.
In late June, workers cruelly killed more than 100,000 unwanted “spent” hens, yanking them from their cages and stuffing and slamming them by the dozens into metal boxes, in which they were smothered and crudely gassed with carbon dioxide, an extremely painful process. Since July 5, farm staff have been working to clean the sheds ahead of Ohio Department of Agriculture officials’ scheduled July 16 inspection of the site’s compliance with environmental regulations.
“Chickens are curious individuals who have distinct personalities, but most importantly, they feel pain and fear just as intensely as any human does,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “Every single PETA investigation into the egg industry has shown these sensitive birds treated as nothing more than laying machines, their basic needs totally disregarded.”
PETA’s investigation into the farm—which keeps up to 2.4 million hens in 16 massive sheds—follows reports by a verified whistleblower that 260,000 hens were killed in December by closing off the ventilation in sheds and raising the temperature to at least 104 degrees, essentially roasting them alive. Fires killed tens of thousands of hens in Trillium sheds in November 2018 and April 2020. Between 2013 and 2014, Trillium paid approximately $6 million to a labor contractor, whose owner pleaded guilty to charges related to smuggling workers—as young as 14 years old—from Guatemala and making them live in dilapidated trailers and cut or burn off chickens’ beaks at Trillium.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. Broadcast-quality video footage is available here. For more information, please visit PETA.org.