UNDERCOVER INVESTIGATION EXPOSES SHOCKING CRUELTY TO ANIMALS AT IOWA'S LARGEST HATCHERY
Hidden Camera Footage Reveals Chicks Being Thrown, Mutilated, and Ground-Up Alive - Group Calls for Warning Label on Grocery Egg Cartons
Davenport, Iowa - Hidden camera footage revealing shocking cruelty to animals at the Spencer facility of Iowa-based Hy-Line International, the world's largest hatchery for egg-laying breed chicks, will be released at a news conference tomorrow morning by Mercy For Animals (MFA), a national animal protection organization. The footage - covertly recorded by a hatchery employee earlier this year - reveals chicks being thrown, dumped, dropped, hung, mutilated without painkillers, injured and killed by the industrial equipment, left for days without access to food or water, and fully-conscious male chicks being ground-up alive. Prompted by the findings of the investigation, tomorrow MFA will call on the nation's 50 largest grocery chains to require that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label reading, "Warning: Male chicks are ground-up alive by the egg industry."
Date: Tuesday, September 1st
Time: 11 a.m.
Location: Radisson Hotel (Moline Room), 111 E 2nd St., Davenport
The undercover footage was recorded between May and June 2009 at Hy-Line in Spencer, Iowa - where over 30 million chicks are killed annually. Abuses include :
- Male chicks being dropped into a grinding machine while still alive, where they were tossed around by a spinning auger before being torn to pieces by a high-pressure macerator. These males are deemed useless to the egg industry because they do not lay eggs or grow large or fast enough to be raised profitably for meat.
- Employees and machines roughly throwing, swinging, and dropping the fragile animals - with little consideration for their welfare.
- Chicks being snapped by their fragile necks into a rotating machine, which used a laser to remove part of the birds' sensitive beaks without painkillers.
- Machinery injuring, killing, and scalding live chicks in wash cycles.
After viewing the footage, Dr. Nedim Buyukmihci, Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis, stated: "(T)he manner in which the chicks depicted in the videotape were treated subjected them to pain and substantial stress. It was cruel by any normal definition of the word."
On Tuesday, MFA will send letters to the nation's 50 largest grocery chains, including Wal-Mart, Kroger, and West Des Moines-based Hy-Vee, urging them to mandate that all eggs sold in their stores bear a label warning consumers of the gruesome method used to kill male chicks
"If hatchery employees threw, mutilated, or ground-up live puppies or kittens like they do to chicks, they could face imprisonment on grounds of cruelty to animals," says MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle. "In a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animal from needless suffering, including those raised for food."
Broadcast quality undercover footage of conditions at Hy-Line will be aired and distributed at the news conference.