Investigation of Tyson Chicken Farm in Virginia Shows Workers’ Sadistic Cruelty to Chickens – Again

Worker carrying chicken
Eastern Shore News cover photo by Compassion Over Killing.

“We are outraged.”
– Tyson official

“That’s the rhetoric, but that’s not the reality – not even close.”
– Karen Davis, quoted in the Eastern Shore News, Dec. 9 front-page article, “‘Hit him on the head, then kill him.’”

On December 7, 2017, an undercover video by the animal advocacy organization Compassion Over Killing appeared in a horrific article in The Washington Post. The video shows workers at a Tyson chicken farm on the Eastern Shore of Virginia torturing the chickens by running them over with a forklift, hitting them with sticks, and impaling a live chicken with a metal nail at the end of a stick. In response, UPC president Karen Davis published “The disturbing reality of poultry production,” in the Dec. 11 edition of The Washington Post.

The Washington Post , December 11, 2017

To the Editor:

I hope the Dec. 7 Metro article “10 poultry-farm workers fired after video surfaces” wakes up readers to the reality of modern chicken farms. The video from Compassion Over Killing depicts standard industry behavior. The cruelty to the chickens in the video is business as usual.

Some people believe we are moving in the direction of “humane meat” and “animal-friendly” agriculture as we become better informed of the realities of industrialized animal production practices. However, a global decline in industrialized animal farming is not going to happen as long as billions of people buy and consume animal products.

The idea of a golden age of compassionate animal farming that could somehow be reclaimed and modernized is misplaced. A look at the books — volumes of historical poultry-keeping literature at the National Agricultural Library in Beltsville for example — dispels all vestiges of belief in humane poultry farming in any era. Every cruelty in today’s industry is rooted in the past.

The growing interest in animal-free “meat” and plant protein is extremely encouraging. If there is going to be progress, this is where the action is.

Karen Davis, Machipongo, Va.
The writer is president of United Poultry Concerns.

  (Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg)