Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Animal Cruelty Case Settled

This week a settlement was reached in a lawsuit between Compassion Over Killing (COK) and Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc. in Santa Cruz, Calif. over animal cruelty and neglect.

In 2009, an undercover investigation lead by COK exposed disturbing cruelty at Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, where millions of ducklings and chicks who would eventually head to the slaughterhouse were processed. Hatchlings were thrown across the room into buckets by workers, injured, mutilated and skinned alive on machinery and left to suffer and shoved down an egg disposal chute with a high-pressure hose while they were still alive, among other horrors.

The footage that was obtained was turned over to the Santa Cruz Animal Service Authority (SCASA) who investigated the issue. Despite public outcry, mounting evidence and a recommendation to prosecute from the SCASA, the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges under the premise that there wasn’t enough evidence for a criminal case.

In January, COK, represented by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), filed a lawsuit arguing that the evidence obtained in the investigation constituted felony animal cruelty in violation of California law, and the cruelty in turn constituted illegal and unfair business practices in violation of the California Business and Professions Code.

According to a statement from the ALDF:

The parties have issued a joint statement clarifying that this settlement resolves “all claims relating to an unfair business practices lawsuit based on alleged animal cruelty at the hatchery.” Key points include:

  • “Cal-Cruz Hatcheries is no longer in operation, closed a few months ago, and has therefore agreed to  no longer own, keep possess, or have custody of any animal.”
  • Hatchery owner “Brian Collins has agreed that he will not be in any way legally responsible for the welfare of animals in a commercial setting for five years.”
  • “Notwithstanding and as a term of the settlement, Cal-Cruz and Brian Collins expressly deny any liability or responsibility in the matter.”

The defendants have also agreed to pay a portion of plaintiff’s attorneys’ fees, and, according to a court order, Collins is permanently banned from treating animals as depicted in COK’s video.

According to COK, this is the first time animal cruelty allegations were successfully resolved using this civil law.

“This groundbreaking case paves a new way to seek―and achieve―justice for abused farmed animals. While our work is never done, we can breathe a sigh of relief knowing this definitively ensures the end of animal suffering at this factory farm,” said COK general counsel Cheryl Leahy.

Related Stories:

New Evidence of Cruelty in California Hatchery

Santa Cruz District Attorney Refuses to Prosecute Animal Cruelty

Behind the “Cage-Free” Label

Photo credit: Thinkstock

250 comments

Dresia Vaughn
Dresia Vaughn3 years ago

I watched the first 2 min's of this video and had to stop because I'm getting truly pissed and I mean really mad. To the guy in Brazil, if you ever come for my dogs, you will DIE trust me and I will go to jail. I can believe some countries such as Brazil has no law in the protection of animals. If I had my way damit, all animal abusers, killers will face me and I will order some of your fingers to be amputated. Kill or hurt or abuse another animal, more fingers until they are all gone. I don't play when it comes to the mistreatment of animals. And to work in a factory torturing those chicks, anyone working in such a facility is just as sick as the Bastard that stole the elderly women's dog and tortured it. People are pit bulls, who need to be given the needle, not animals. These places don't need to be shut down, they should be BURNED down.

Linda B.
Linda Bowman3 years ago

the crulety is just beyond everything ,animals are suffering for no good reason the chicks ,there is no reason to ntorture them or to kill them we can eat vegtables which are better for us,and the poor cows put to slaughter I have seen this on tv and had to cut it off how could you let this go on it must stop ,we need a lawq to prevent killing of any animal and I will petition to stop this it will not continue very much longer.

Marilyn Schmidt
Marilyn Schmidt3 years ago

Any gov agency that allows them to operate should be shut down too.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

The monolithic american "agri-business" is a terrorist clique which is not only responsible for this kind of massive cruelty daily, it's guilty of continuously assaulting and poisoning the gullible US consumer public. And of course the US government is staffed by criminals who always get their corrupt hands dirty profiting from "agri-business" corporate terrorism.

Mark Donners
Mark Donner3 years ago

In my opinion ALL factory farmed cruelty companies and slaughterhouses should flatly be considered criminal organizations and shut down in the same way and most of the criminals involved with them fined for millions or imprisoned. No tolerance is the only policy for all those greedy subhuman lowlifes.

Marilyn Schmidt
Marilyn Schmidt3 years ago

I agree, it's sad. It's worst in Brazil. A guy the other day stoled an elderly woman's dog. He tortured and killed it. The police know who he is and nobody does anything because there aren't any cruelity laws there. Have seen some horrible videos of things people do there to animals. One made me almost vomit and the room went white. I still see the two videos I saw that day in my mind and it's been months. In order to help and protect the innocent animals we have to see what happens to them and it's hard to do. Since I've become an animal activist trust no one as far as rehoming pets. Had no idea till this last year what's really going on in the world and it sickens me and that people get away with it. It's proven that people that abuse animals abuse their families so I agree that prosecution should be harsh with all levels of abuse. I can't believe people worked with the cute little chicks and watched them suffer and die and toss them like weeds. Glad the place is closed down.

Marilyn Schmidt
Marilyn Schmidt3 years ago

I agree, it's sad. It's worst in Brazil. A guy the other day stoled an elderly woman's dog. He tortured and killed it. The police know who he is and nobody does anything because there aren't any cruelity laws there. Have seen some horrible videos of things people do there to animals. One made me almost vomit and the room went white. I still see the two videos I saw that day in my mind and it's been months. In order to help and protect the innocent animals we have to see what happens to them and it's hard to do. Since I've become an animal activist trust no one as far as rehoming pets. Had no idea till this last year what's really going on in the world and it sickens me and that people get away with it. It's proven that people that abuse animals abuse their families so I agree that prosecution should be harsh with all levels of abuse. I can't believe people worked with the cute little chicks and watched them suffer and die and toss them like weeds. Glad the place is closed down.

Marilyn Schmidt
Marilyn Schmidt3 years ago

I agree should never have animals again

Sheri D.
Sheri D.3 years ago

Punishment for animal creulty is never strong enough.

James S.
james S.3 years ago

With demand comes mass production and with mass production, we'll always see horrors like this. For health, humanity and our planet, please think about becoming vegan or drastically cutting down. Most humans can and will thrive by eating plant based foods only - there are vegans thriving everywhere, including a lengthy list of champion athletes.