PETA Investigation Reveals Hens Suffering Amid Waste and Corpses on Egg Farm Where More Than 49,000 Birds Were Rounded Up and Gassed
For Immediate Release:
August 9, 2018
Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382
Cincinnati – PETA is calling on Cincinnati-based Kroger Co.—which operates more stores than any other U.S. grocer—to reassess its relationship with a major egg supplier implicated in a new PETA exposé. PETA’s footage reveals that hens were beaten to death, dead ones were left to rot alongside survivors inside battery cages, live birds were left in manure pits amid corpses and piles of waste up to 5 feet high, and hens died of heatstroke.
Starting this past weekend, workers killed more than 49,000 unwanted “spent” hens by beating and gassing them. The hens were yanked from cages on the farm, slammed against and stuffed by the dozens into metal boxes, and crudely gassed with carbon dioxide before being dumped, often alive, into trucks. Workers beat the birds’ heads against the metal bars and sides of the trucks and bludgeoned them with a board, and those who were still alive were left to endure an agonizing, prolonged death. In recent weeks, nearly 8,000 hens died—many of apparent heatstroke—when temperatures in the farm’s sheds reached 106 degrees.
PETA’s investigation of the Sulphur, Oklahoma, farm—which keeps up to 1.2 million hens in 11 massive sheds and is operated by Prosper, Texas–based Mahard Egg Farm, Inc.—follows a whistleblower’s report to the group that hens “looked like they were rotting alive” there. A PETA eyewitness who worked on the farm found that a supervisor and workers denied care to sick and injured hens. Birds had no place to stand, sit, or lie except for the wire flooring of the cages, and most were missing feathers, often the result of stress-induced fighting and self-mutilation. After PETA submitted evidence to local authorities, the sheriff’s office in Murray County, Oklahoma, opened a criminal investigation into Mahard.
“This nightmarish footage showing workers beating chickens’ heads against metal bars and sick, neglected hens living in squalor among decaying corpses should be enough to ruin any decent person’s taste for eggs,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges consumers to remember the suffering of these hens and leave eggs off their plates.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that past sanctions against the company include fines for violating environmental and labor laws. In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration issued Mahard a warning over “serious violations” of salmonella-prevention regulations related to fly and rodent control.