Volunteers with Compassion Over Killing (COK) demonstrated outside the 59th annual Poultry Festival in Arkansas on Saturday. The protest urged the festival’s sponsor Tyson Foods – the largest producer of poultry in the United States – to “end crippling rapid growth rates in birds and shift to plant protein.”

COK’s dedicated team attended the barbecue event holding signs with the words “Tyson’s Cruelty Won’t Fly,” and a plane flew over the 5000-strong crowd trailing a banner directing people to COK’s website TysonTruth.com.

tyson poulty protest

Image Credit: Compassion Over Killing

“We’re ruffling industry feathers with our clear message,” said COK Executive Director Erica Meier. “COK investigators have routinely uncovered the day-to-day miseries forced upon birds raised for their meat, and much of their suffering is related to genetic manipulation for rapid growth.”

Several undercover investigations by COK have revealed shocking animal cruelty within the factory farms of Tyson’s suppliers, including an investigation only last year which showed workers cruelly abusing live chickens; sick and injured birds undergoing slow and painful deaths; and painful physical abnormalities due to abnormally rapid growth rates.

Although Tyson recently increased its investment in plant-based protein maker Beyond Meat, COK reports that the company has yet to address its welfare policies around genetic manipulation of birds to fast-track their growth.

With this recent demonstration, we hope more people are now aware of the horrific lives that birds undergo at the hands of producers such as Tyson, and help push the company to a plant-based future.