Newly released hidden-camera footage recorded by a Mercy For Animals investigator reveals the danger of high-speed live-shackle slaughter at a Maryland poultry slaughterhouse:
Birds hastily hung upside down by their legs on a rapid live-shackle line
Workers required to work at an extremely fast pace, which increases injury risk
Injured and sick chickens thrown away or kept on the line for slaughter
The investigator also witnessed birds left hanging upside down by their legs for more than an hour and a half due to a facility-wide power outage.
To view the full video, visit HighSpeedCruelty.com.
On May 28, Senator Cory Booker and eight other senators sent a letter to Senate leadership asking them to halt higher-speed slaughter for chickens, pigs, and cows during the COVID-19 pandemic, a request made just days before the Senate is expected to vote on the latest coronavirus relief package, the HEROES Act. Mercy For Animals is calling on the Senate to make this request a directive of the HEROES Act.
“COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on the immense suffering animals and slaughterhouse workers endure for cheap meat,” said Leah Garcés, president of Mercy For Animals. “High-speed slaughter lines increase the risk of human error that results in the slaughter of fully conscious animals. They also force workers to stand close together, making slaughterhouses hotspots for the spread of COVID-19, which also endangers surrounding communities. Mercy For Animals, along with 21 other organizations that protect workers, consumers, and animals, is calling on Congress to prohibit higher-speed slaughter of birds, pigs, and cows. We must transform our inefficient, inhumane, and unsustainable food system. We can start today by passing this commonsense legislation.”
In February 2020, Mercy For Animals and other coalition members filed a lawsuit against the USDA, challenging the agency’s 2018 decision to allow some chicken slaughterhouses to increase line speeds to a maximum of 175 birds per minute—a 25 percent increase. The lawsuit outlines how operating live-shackle lines at high speeds increases the risk of both inhumane handling and worker injury.
The undercover investigation took place in late 2019 at an Amick Farms slaughter plant in Hurlock, Maryland, which at the time of the investigation supplied Walmart-owned Sam’s Club. Walmart is one of the country’s largest chicken buyers.
To learn more, visit HighSpeedCruelty.com.