Cruelty Exposed at ‘Humane Certified’ Chicken Farm

This week an undercover investigation released by Mercy for Animals (MFA) has exposed more cruelty to chickens, but this time it also brought to light the issues at farms that are included in humane certification schemes that are supposedly protecting farm animals.

The investigation was conducted between April and June at a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Fresno, Calif., in addition to some of the other company’s nearby farms.

The footage released exposed blatant cruelty ranging from workers punching birds and ripping their feathers out to chickens being slammed upside down into shackles and scalded alive at the slaughterhouse, but it also goes back to the beginning to show the callous treatment of newly hatched chicks.

If anything can be more offensive than the abuses chickens born, raised, used and killed for food continuously face, in this case it might be that Foster Farms has received the American Humane Association’s (AHA) American Humane Certified stamp of approval.

As we grow increasingly aware of the inherent cruelty that comes with factory farming practices, more and more consumers are expressing support for humanely raised meat and other products. According to a national survey conducted by AHA last year, almost 95 percent of respondents said they were very concerned about farm animal welfare.

The demand has spurred a number of certification schemes that are supposed to be protecting animals from some of the worst practices, but don’t really provide the treatment that they claim is humane at least depending on what your idea of humane really is.

Maybe it’s raising them outdoors in the fresh air and sunshine, ensuring they can engage in natural behaviors throughout their lives and that they’re not subjected to painful mutilations, or at the very least, protected from violent and callous employees.

AHA does none of those things for chickens, allowing them to be kept inside for their entire short lives without access to the outdoors and debeaking, or burning off the tips of their beaks, without painkillers, along with allowing cruelty to continue unchecked.

Matt Rice, MFA’s director of investigations, said before the footage was turned over to authorities, the cruelty seen was reported to a supervisor in May, but nothing was done.

According to MFA, AHA’s program now covers more than 1 billion farm animals in the U.S. and includes other problematic companies, like Butterball, which has been exposed numerous times for serious cruelty. A 2011 investigation at one of Butterball’s turkey farms made history when it resulted in the first-ever felony cruelty charges for birds used in food production.

Unfortunately, these programs and the labels that come with them don’t always reflect what we expect when we hear the word humane, leaving consumers supporting companies they may otherwise not.

“The humane-certified label is little more than a scam,” said MFA’s president, Nathan Runkle. “It dupes well-intending consumers into buying meat from factory farmed animals.”

In a statement, Foster Farms said it has started its own investigation and will fully cooperate with authorities, further stating “The behavior of the individuals in this video is inappropriate and counter to our stringent animal welfare standards, procedures and policies.”

So far, five employees have been suspended and police are actively investigating, while MFA is now urging both Foster Farms and AHA to make some serious changes.

For more info, visit AmericanHumaneScam.com.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

86 comments

Joan E
Joan E1 months ago

Shut them down.

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Joan E
Joan E1 months ago

Prosecute.

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James G
James Guinane1 months ago

I would like to throw those HATEFULL MONSTERS into boiling water, one after the other, so those in line could witness what is going to happen to them.

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Mark Donners
Mark Donner2 years ago

A significant portion of the depraved human race were born to be not only criminals but atrocities, things whose mission in life is to be the worst possible evil that ever existed. These nightmare human things are on corporate boards, in political positions and wherever they can spin their black webs to suck the life out of the universe and to spread evil, death and suffering for their only purpose before they die and poison the worms in their coffins.

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Valentina R.
Valentina R3 years ago

Shameful.

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Nikki Davey
Nikki Davey3 years ago

Thanks

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mari s.
Mari S3 years ago

Thank you MFA -- Mercy for Animals! Thank you for being vigilant no matter what the label says -- WE MUST ALWAYS KEEP AN EYE OUT -- the nerve, the audacity of Foster Farms -- how dare they -- entrusting your customers -- how dare you hire idiots who are nothing but insane, mentally deranged, merciless, cruel thugs, who should NOT be anywhere near animals! How could you!

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Sharon F.
Sharon F3 years ago

Go veg! Put the abusers out of business. I do not eat anything that has eyes!

Beans and nuts are good sources of protein, much healthier for you, the environment, and your wallet.

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Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

Sherry S., couldn´t bear to watch the video either, I see too much cruelty towards animals every day anyway, from petition videos that start without a warning, like f. ex. on Care 2, or in some of the over 15 petition groups on FB where I´m a member, at some point I think enough is enough...

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Marion Friedl
Marion Friedl3 years ago

OMG, that´s like with the eggs here in Germany, they´re labeled as "from hens who may walk on a floor" or "from hens who may walk and hop around outside", but the truth is they´re from battery hens in most of the cases, that´s why I only buy eggs (for one of my 3 cats, I don´t eat them) from a regional hen farm you could visit any time to look how the hens live there, they cost about 1,50 € more for 10 eggs, but it´s worth it!!! But I have to admit I can´t buy chicken meat from organic farms for the cats, I´m beyond poor... And even if I didn´t buy that, who knows what´s inside the cat food you can buy??? Meat from animal factories too... :(

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