Lawsuit Seeks Justice for 50,000 Abandoned Hens

At the end of February an anonymous tip lead authorities to the discovery of nearly 50,000 egg-laying hens who had been left for dead at a farm in Stanislaus County, Calif., that was rented by A&L Poultry.

Officials estimated they had been left without food or water for over two weeks. About one a third of the hens had already died of starvation by the time they were found and thousands more had to be euthanized upon discovery because they were in such bad shape.

Fortunately, kind rescuers from Animal Place, Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary and Farm Sanctuary stepped in to save almost 4,500 of the hens and took on the daunting task of providing emergency care, cleaning them up and nursing them back to health in what was the largest farm animal rescue in the state’s history.

The three groups have filed a complaint in the Stanislaus County Superior Court against A&L Poultry’s owners Andy Keung Cheung and Lien Diep claiming that they violated California’s anti-cruelty laws and that the “violations were intentional, malicious and willful or, at the very least, grossly negligent. Those who abuse animals and cause animal suffering, like defendants, should be held responsible for the costs of caring for and rehabilitating the animals they have harmed.”

“We can’t begin to imagine what these poor animals suffered as a result of the defendants’ reckless disregard for their welfare,” said Bruce Friedrich, Farm Sanctuary’s senior director for strategic initiatives. “No remedy is severe enough, but at the very least they should be held fully accountable by the courts.”

According to the groups, the owners breached their legal duty to provide care for the birds, which caused needless suffering and a slow death from starvation. Meanwhile, they were left to cover all of the costs incurred in the rescue, which have totaled over $25,000 and are continuing to grow, according to the Courthouse News Service.

Hopefully the rescue organizations win this one, not only for for the hens who suffered immeasurably before they were saved and the ones who died slow agonizing deaths, but for rescuers everywhere who are left to clean up and pay for the irresponsibility and apathy of others simply because they can’t not care.

Related Stories:

Nearly 50,000 Hens Abandoned at Farm

Update: Rescued Hens Get Some TLC

Behind the “Cage-Free” Label

Photo credit: Thinkstock

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Edmond Ciesielski

Pétititon signée

susan r.
S R.3 years ago

where are the arrests?? what is wrong with this country that THIS doesn't warrent immediate arrest, but a warrent for an unpaid traffic violation gets a strip search as well? the federal animal welfare act means nothing for animals intended AS food. These food things must not be alive and breathing animals then! something's wrong here. If the government isn't going to do anything about this, smart move to sue the sickos and send a strong message to anyone in this type of business that abuse of farm animals (even without the farm) will be paid for.

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright3 years ago

A lawsuit isn't going to bring these chickens back or make up for the suffering they incurred at the hands of evil humans......

Maggie Carmel
Maggie Carmel3 years ago

Terrible! They were just looking for profit not caring for the well-being of the hens. I'm glad and thankful for the person that came forward and gave this tip therefore saving many of them from death.
These people should definitely pay, this is obviously a case of cruelty

Carrie Anne Brown

glad they got tipped off :) thanks for sharing

J Roth
J Roth3 years ago

1st- Thank you to the anonymous person who tipped this.
2 nd- the cruelty ranks right up there with Michael Vick's cruelty. The hens were profit only. Once no longer providing, their cruel death imminent.
Yes, they better be held responsible. It's hard work and costly. Stop dumping your burden on others.
These hens are living creatures, they should have been would have been cheaper.

Aurea Walker

Mark, cannot send you another star this week thru care2 so how about some of these- ;) ;) ;) :) but most of all thank you for the additional greats who were vegetarians!

mark g.
mark gillono3 years ago

"By the way the most intelligent man in all of recorded history is Leonardo da Vinci and HE WAS A VEGETARIAN way back in the 1500's says something."

don't forget about a few other guys who are also considered to be great thinkers:

“Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet.”—Albert Einstein

“As long as man continues to be the ruthless destroyer of lower livings beings, he will never know health or peace. For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.”—Pythagoras

"My refusing to eat Flesh occasioned an Inconveniency, and I was frequently chid for my singularity .... Flesh eating is unprovoked murder.” - Benjamin Franklin

mark g.
mark gillono3 years ago

"Chickens should be raised locally and come in a variety of colours. Taking care of hens is a great way to teach children responsibility and care. Eggs from lovingly-raised hens who get to eat lots of greenery have rich orange yolks, full of nutrients."


no matter how you spin it, chickens who are used for egg production are being exploited for our own personal gratification. what happens to the chickens who are "loved" so much when they stop producing eggs and are no longer profitable? are they kept as pets to live out their natural lives or are they sold for slaughter?

humans do not need to consume ANY animal protein to be healthy, especially hen periods, and in fact the converse is actually true:

sarah jaffe
sarah jaffe3 years ago

Chickens should be raised locally and come in a variety of colours. Taking care of hens is a great way to teach children responsibility and care. Eggs from lovingly-raised hens who get to eat lots of greenery have rich orange yolks, full of nutrients. If you purchase "organic" or "free-run" eggs but the yolks are still a pale yellow, you can tell they are not being fed properly and that they are probably only meeting very low standards to apply that certification to their labels. Many municipalities allow you to keep a small number of fowl, just make sure the neighbours won't mind the constant muttering, and be aware that they do get very loud when laying.