That’s the Problem: Raid on Duck Farm Turns Up “Normal Procedures”

Undercover footage taken by Mercy for Animals (MFA) at one of the largest duck farms in the country didn’t just expose heartbreaking abuse and neglect, but also unacceptable actions on our part that are unfortunately perfectly legal when it comes to animal agriculture.

The footage was obtained at Reichardt Duck Farm in California by an undercover investigator who documented what the group sums up as an “ongoing pattern of cruelty, neglect, and needless suffering” that begins the day they hatch and continues until they’re slaughtered.

While the treatment of chickens and turkeys has made headlines, factory farmed ducks are left facing the same issues. Some of the problems the investigator exposed included rough handling by workers who were seen throwing them and carrying them by their heads and wings, burning the bills off of ducklings and violently breaking their necks, while others were left to suffer from illnesses and injuries with no relief, or were left trapped to starve or die of dehydration.

As the group notes, the ducks at Reichardt are also forced to spend their time indoors on wire mesh flooring. For waterfowl, simply depriving them of water is inherently inhumane and leaves them with no way to properly clean themselves, while keeping them on floors that they’re not built to stand on can lead to leg deformities and infections in their feet.

If they survive their first month of life on the farm, they’ll only end up being slaughtered for their meat. Even though they’re supposed to be stunned first before they have their throats slit, many are believed to remain conscious through the process.

“From the day they hatch until they are violently killed at the slaughterhouse, the short lives of these ducks are filled with misery and deprivation,” said MFA’s executive director, Nathan Runkle.

MFA promptly turned the evidence over to Sonoma County authorities, pointing out numerous violations of California’s anti-cruelty laws in a legal complaint and is seeking criminal charges.

However, after authorities raided the property, they said they didn’t find anything illegal at the farm, which has more than 200,000 ducks at any given time, just the standard treatment of birds raised for food.

While other experts disagree, veterinarian David Rupiper , who went along for the raid, told the SF Gate there was no reason for them to be there, further stating that “These activist groups hang on normal processing procedures and say it’s animal cruelty.”

Therein lies the biggest problem. If we can look at the standards within the industry and just feel something is terribly wrong with what’s happening, it isn’t because we don’t know anything about animal agriculture or farming, it’s because we know no living creature deserves to be treated like this. Yet the industry continues to use the standards it has established to justify the continued abuse and exploitation of millions of animals every year and hopes we like the way they taste enough to look the other way so it can continue to profit.

While MFA is pursuing change and justice for farm animals through the legal system, the organization is also again reminding us that as consumers we have the power to immediately stop needless suffering of animals by leaving them off of our plates.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

273 comments

Adrea C.
Adrea C.1 years ago

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Jim Ven
Jim V1 years ago

thanks for the article.

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Mark Donners
Mark Donner2 years ago

Carol P. If everything is excused by "economics", why don't your volunteer yourself for human lampshades?

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Mark Donners
Mark Donner2 years ago

That idiot veterinarian David Rupiper and all his vile criminal friends in Agribusiness remind of the ones who ran the gas chambers in Nazi Germany. Everything is normal practice and status quo here, don't complain about our mass murders and totures.

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angela l.
Angela L2 years ago

I can't even see the video. The only thing human can do is to commit to a vegan diet to relieve the cruelty that inflict on ALL SENTIENT BEINGS. There is no such thing as humane farming, as I always said, the final stage of the animal lives end up on humans' plates. How humane can it be???????!!!!!!!!!!!

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Teresa W.
Teresa W2 years ago

horrible

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Daniela Nenz
Daniela Nenz2 years ago

It is disgusting how humans can be.
It is so sad.

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Jane R.
Jane R2 years ago

I could not read all of this post. It was too sickening. This needs to stop. These are living creatures that deserve to be treated humanely.

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Melania Padilla
Melania Padilla2 years ago

Bastards!!!

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Linda P.
Linda P2 years ago

When is this torture for these innocent victims going to end??? Why is this allowed to continue and what is taking so long for something to be done to stop these horrific treatment to the animals??? The public is getting fed up with this treatment to these precious lives and are sick and tired that nothing is being done to change this.

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