United Poultry Concerns January 15, 2008

January 9, 2008
Via Certified Mail and Email

Brenda C. Barnes, President, Chairman, CEO
Sara Lee Corporation
3500 Lacey Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515

Dear Ms. Barnes:

Thank you for your letter of December 21, 2007 in response to my letter of November 19, 2007 in which I urged Sara Lee to use devices to protect turkeys being trucked to slaughter. An investigation by Animals’ Angels on January 25, 2007 videotaped a densely loaded Sara Lee turkey truck on the road for four hours from Des Moines to Storm Lake, Iowa. The truck sat for an additional two hours in the dark at the Sara Lee Storm Lake plant in frigid 16-degrees Fahrenheit temperatures including 14 mph winds and 85-90 percent humidity: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KV95U0QF7uY.

Your letter to me and others states that Sara Lee adheres to strict animal welfare guidelines established by the National Turkey Federation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In fact, the NTF’s “Market Live Haul” section of its Animal Care Best Management Practices for the Production of Turkeys says merely that “Truck travel, distances, weather and other factors can affect the birds’ well-being enroute and must be considered. . . . Wind protection in winter and water cooling in summer is important to minimize stress” (http://www.eatturkey.com/about/service.html).

However, even this lax observation was not adhered to in the Sara Lee truck videotaped by the investigators on January 25th. The footage clearly shows Sara Lee turkeys sitting in an open-sided truck at your Storm Lake slaughter plant. There are no “insulated panels.”

As for invoking the U.S. Department of Agriculture: USDA excludes birds from transport welfare regulations so citing this agency is meaningless. The USDA does nothing to protect poultry from cruel and inhumane treatment. Which is why we are calling upon you to show humanity and compassion to these birds. Why don’t you, Ms. Barnes?

Your own website states that Sara Lee is committed to the integrity of “doing the right thing in every circumstance.” Here is an opportunity for Sara Lee to do the right thing for helpless, suffering birds being sent to your slaughterhouses in your own trucks. Please do the right thing in these circumstances, Ms. Barnes. http://www.saralee.com/AboutSaraLee/OurMission/OurValues.aspx?id={442447AE-7F3A-4D89-9789-99D6DBFBC0AF}.

As noted in my previous letter to you, turkeys and chickens subjected to subfreezing temperatures are susceptible to painful frostbite and severe cold stress – hypothermia – in which their body temperatures fall dramatically. Humidity increases the birds’ suffering by absorbing their body heat. Suffering and mortality increase as dehydration and exhaustion overwhelm their ability to warm themselves. Subjecting the birds to this preventable suffering is cruel and suggests a heartless attitude, Ms. Barnes.

I am accordingly renewing my request to you: Please show leadership by investing in tarpaulins, sideboards and/or other protective devices that will protect all of Sara Lee’s turkeys and chickens from the preventable suffering of being forced to endure freezing temperatures and bitter winds during transport and on the loading docks.

I would appreciate a direct response from you describing your plans for rectifying this easily resolved animal cruelty situation. I look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible. Thank you for your attention.


Karen Davis, PhD, President
United Poultry Concerns
12325 Seaside Road, PO Box 150
Machipongo, Virginia 23405
Phone: 757-678-7875
Email: karen@upc-online.org

United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information, please visit www.upc-online.org

United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
PO Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150
FAX: 757-678-5070

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