For Immediate Release:
March 24, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – A new undercover PETA investigation into Indiana-based Maple Leaf Farms, the largest duck producer in the U.S., reveals workers at its hatchery dumping fully conscious day-old ducklings—ones deemed unprofitable by the company—into a macerator and grinding them up. Footage shows workers dropping or flinging hatchlings onto a conveyor belt to be hauled off to massive sheds and slaughtered only months later. The company deceives customers by claiming on its website that the animals are “humanely raised” and paints a false, bucolic picture of the ducklings’ lives.
“In nature, ducks can live up to 10 years, swimming, foraging, and enjoying life with companions—but in this industry, they’re chopped up or their throats are slit,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA reminds everyone who is horrified by the way ducklings are killed that the only way to avoid supporting these gruesome practices is by eating vegan.”
Maple Leaf slaughters up to 15 million ducks each year—accounting for about 60% of the U.S. market—and exports duck flesh to more than 40 countries. Its customers include Kroger, Harris Teeter, Publix, Costco, Giant, Hannaford, Price Chopper, Albertsons, and Sysco—all companies where shoppers can easily locate bird-friendly vegan foods. PETA also notes that Maple Leaf’s subsidiary Down Inc. uses ducks’ feathers to make pillows and comforters for hospitality, retail, and private label sales. PETA offers a guide to down-free bedding here.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.