Last month, an investigative video showing abuses at an Ohio dairy farm surfaced, which led to cruelty charges being filed against at least one individual who was caught on tape maliciously beating cows and calves with pitch forks and metal rods. This month, another disturbing video that exposes the systemic suffering that occurs at our nation’s hatcheries has been released. It shows unwanted ducklings and chicks being discarded like garbage, and others injured as they get caught up in the factory farming machinery.
How has it come to this? Why are living animals literally treated like trash? It’s the result of an agribusiness attitude that sees animals as mere tools of production. When the animals are of no economic use, they are discarded by the easiest and cheapest means available. In the case of chicks at the hatchery they are commonly ground up alive. Farm Sanctuary investigators have also documented live chicks thrown in trash bins or dumped in manure spreaders and spread on a field like manure.
Along with sick, injured or disfigured chicks who are killed because they are not considered economically viable, millions of healthy day old chicks are also killed every year. These are the male offspring of commercial egg laying chickens, and they are of no economic use to the industry. They don’t grow fast enough to be raised profitably for meat, and they will never lay eggs, so they are killed right after they hatch.
Unfortunately, laws protecting farm animals from cruelty are grossly inadequate, and farm animals experience egregious abuse every day across the U.S. Thankfully, citizens are learning about the lives and deaths of farm animals through undercover investigations or other means, and they are rightly appalled. Change is in the air. With increasing awareness, there is a growing push to bring laws more into line with societal values, and there is also a growing interest in veganism.
In the meantime, we are calling for the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office to reconsider prosecution in this case. Our one consolation from this latest investigation is that we were able to bring 38 of these ducklings to safety at Farm Sanctuary.