An anonymous tip lead authorities to the discovery of almost 50,000 hens who were left for dead at a Stanislaus County farm rented by A&L Poultry in California.
Officials estimated that they were left without food for more than two weeks. About a third of the hens had already died of starvation when the Stanislaus Animal Services Agency arrived and more had to be euthanized because they were in such bad shape.
A&L Poultry’s owner, Andy Keung Cheung, reportedly ran out of money to feed them, and issued a statement to FOX40:
A&L Poultry has been in the process of arranging the shut down of its egg production operations utilizing the industry’s business practices and standards. An attempt to arrange for delivery of the chickens to a third party in order to avoid the usual business practice of euthanizing the chickens resulted in an unacceptable situation A&L Poultry did not intend, and profoundly regrets.
A few thousand hens who were fortunate enough to have survived have been signed over to the county by Cheung’s attorney and are being placed with rescue groups who have stepped up to take them, including Animal Place Sanctuary, Harvest Home Sanctuary and Farm Sanctuary.
Some of these lucky ladies are now being pampered and getting to see sunshine and feel the earth under their feet for the first time (see photos) as they learn what its like to be a real chicken, instead of an egg-machine trapped in a battery cage.
“The responsible party or parties subjected each bird to unnecessary and unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, and death,” wrote Bruce Friedrich, senior director for strategic initiatives for Farm Sanctuary. “It has been our experience over our 25 years of providing sanctuary for chickens who have been rescued from factory farms and slaughterhouses that they are deeply intelligent and inquisitive animals.”
The Animal Legal Defense Fund is watching the case and considering legal options and officials are reportedly going to pursue the matter and ask that the district attorney’s office prosecute Cheung for animal cruelty and neglect.
Please sign the petition asking the Stanislaus County district attorney’s office to hold Cheung accountable for his actions by pursuing the matter and prosecuting him for animal cruelty and neglect.
Photo credit: Thinkstock