Over 5,000 chickens from Foster Farms, trapped in cramped cages piled on top of each other, were bound for the slaughterhouse on a semi-truck when the vehicle overturned as the driver attempted an illegal U-turn. Many birds were killed and countless others were injured in the accident, which occurred June 25 in Clark County, Washington.
Animal rights groups Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) and The Save Movement tried to rescue the chickens, but Foster Farms employees were there to collect the ones who hadn’t died, sending them off on another transport truck to be killed.
Sadly, animals in transport are often victims of accidents. Earlier in June, a Perdue transport accident left chickens dead and injured on the side of the road in Delaware. In Texas, this past May, a transport truck of cows, and in Illinois, this past February, a transport of pigs, were both overturned, resulting in injured and frightened animals.
Foster Farms is no stranger to animal cruelty. In 2015, a Mercy For Animals investigation revealed horrific abuse at its Fresno processing plant. It also revealed the fraud behind the American Humane Association (AHA) certification of Foster Farms chickens as humane.
Trademarking “American Humane Certified” and placing the label on products that are unregulated, from farms that practice industry standards, the AHA has contributed to the false marketing and cruelty perpetuated by the farming industry. Liberally interpreting the word “humane,” with virtually no oversight from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), the AHA and farm industry deceive consumers into believing the meat they’re buying is cruelty free. But industry standard practices include an abominable litany of torture such as: de-beaking, de-toeing, and hanging chickens upside down before slaughter, breaking their bones and causing unbearable pain.
In addition to the outright abuse, the chickens at Foster Farms are forced to live in filth and horrible conditions. Not surprisingly, in 2013 Foster Farms chicken caused a salmonella outbreak in which over 600 people fell ill and 241 were hospitalized.
The American Humane website is full of hypocrisy. Citing a purported mission of “ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals,” there is a laughable section devoted to “Recipes” suggesting ways to cook animals.
The clearest way to eat humanely is to not eat animals. As consumers demand less meat, the industry intensifies its fight against this. But not eating meat is the most effective way for us to avoid the industry deception and save lives in the process.