Whistleblower: Ostriches Frozen and Bled to Death, Assaulted by Workers on ‘Humane’ Idaho Farm

For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2024

Moira Colley 202-483-7382

Kuna, Idaho

After a whistleblower sent PETA damning images and allegations of animal abuse and neglect at locally based American Ostrich Farms—which claims that the birds at its facility are “humanely raised”—the group fired off letters to local grocers Atkinsons’ Market, Porterhouse Market, and Village Market urging them to reconsider their associations with the farm. The whistleblower’s allegations include that workers frequently kicked birds using extreme force, hit them with shepherds hooks, and shoved their boots into their anal cavities to shock them and force them to move, saying, “I’m gonna f*** you in the a**.” The whistleblower notes that some birds were so terrified while fleeing that they ran into fences, breaking their wings and toes, skinning their legs, and tearing open the skin on their chests. Photos and video footage from the whistleblower are available here.

Other allegations include the following:

  • Workers stepped on the necks of some ailing birds to hold their heads down before shooting them, and other employees cut chicks’ throats while they were fully conscious, causing them to cry out and flail while they bled to death.
  • Ammonia levels were so high in the enclosures for chicks that they temporarily went blind. Other chicks who were ailing and in distress huddled together, which caused some to suffocate.
  • Many birds were kept in enclosures that were constantly wet and muddy, without adequate shelter from rain, snow, and wind. During winter, birds were forced to sit on freezing mud and their feet became frostbitten—including one whose skin split, exposing the bone. The farm’s owner, saying that a bird was a “valuable breeder,” delayed ending the animal’s suffering for a full day. Several birds died while frozen to the ground.
  • The farm’s owner ordered that a young, underweight bird be taken to a breeder pen, where she was attacked by other birds who didn’t allow her adequate access to feed, causing abrasions on the back of her neck. By the time that management agreed to let the whistleblower move her, she was too weak to walk. 
  • At least half the birds’ feed was dumped into the mud or into broken, leaky feeders, causing the feed to become wet. The conditions of injured and underweight birds were ignored, which often resulted in pain, further injuries, or death.

Two weeks after the whistleblower posted their claims on social media—giving the facility ample time to clean up and prepare for an inspection—an Idaho State Department of Agriculture official briefly inspected the farm and found that multiple birds were underweight.

“Ostriches are sensitive individuals who form strong social bonds with each other, but at American Ostrich Farms, they’re reportedly deprived of everything that’s natural and important to them and subjected to abuse, neglect, and suffering,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “The cruel conditions detailed by this whistleblower are exactly why PETA urges everyone to ignore meaningless labels like ‘humane’ and to simply eat and wear vegan.”

PETA points out that American Ostrich Farms sells the ostriches’ flesh, oil made with their fat, and their feathers and that compassionate consumers should never buy real bird feathers.

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

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