Stop Cruelty at Chicken Farms


Target: Tom Vilsack, United States Secretary of Agriculture

Goal: Extend animal protection laws to include chickens and other birds

Serious breaches of animal protection legislation have been uncovered at a chicken processing plant by an investigation conducted by the Humane Society of the United States. Undercover investigators posing as workers at Butterfield Foods in southwest Minnesota found many birds having their throats cut while still conscious because stunning equipment had failed. Other chickens were thrown alive into boiling water during the de-feathering process.

Butterfield Foods kills and processes egg-laying hens that are no longer laying eggs at an economically viable rate. The hens, which have already lived a life of misery in a tiny battery cage, are too damaged to be consumed whole. After killing them, the plant processes the chicken meat into tiny chunks to be used in soups and pet foods.

During slaughter, United States chickens are hung upside down from their feet and dragged through an electrified water bath to stun them. They then have their throats cut and are left to bleed out for 90 seconds before being thrown in vats of scalding water to remove their feathers. In the US, it is required that all livestock, such as cows, pigs and sheep, are stunned before being slaughtered. Chickens, unfortunately, receive no protection during slaughter or afterward, when they are placed alive in de-feathering tanks.

Chickens are small but intelligent creatures that deserve as much protection from cruelty as any other animal. While the Humane Society has submitted its case to a prosecutor, the case would be much more likely to succeed if chickens had more legal protection. Sign the petition below to demand that chickens are places under the protection of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.


Dear Mr. Tom Vilsack,

In a recent investigation by the Humane Society, Butterfield Foods in southwest Minnesota was found to be slitting chicken’s throats while they were conscious and throwing live animals into vats of boiling water. While the investigation has been forwarded to a prosecutor, it is unlikely that the farm will be punished for their cruelty as neither of these things is forbidden under US law.

The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires livestock to be stunned and unconscious before slaughter, does not protect turkeys, chickens, or other birds. This is unfair and allows chickens, which feel the same pain and panic as pigs or cows during slaughter, to be abused. We, the undersigned, demand  a long-overdue amendment to the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act to protect birds killed for food purposes.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Ronald Duncan via WikiMedia Commons

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  1. caryl sawyer says:

    Does Vilsack ever do anything?

  2. Bina pannell says:

    Please God, let karma be real.

  3. Jean Clelland-Morin says:

    PLEASE do your VEGAN research PLEASE

  4. Karen Remnant says:

    Stop it NOW! Sheer bloody cruelty!

  5. Despina M. Andrelus says:

    I don’t eat animals, and I wish nobody would… However, there will always be those who scoff about not eating meat, so we need to distinguish between the actual eating of animals and the actual torturing of them. The cruel, cold, bloody, horrific torture… and the insane enjoyment so many abusers have of doing the actual torture. This isn’t a quick process we are talking about… This “treatment” takes an incredibly slow, methodical, excruciatingly painful time. No rhyme or reason to that. No empathy towards anyone who does that, whether it be to cow, pig, bird, dog, cat, horse, deer, whale, seal, what-have-you. The torture is inexcusable. Period. Nobody, and I mean nobody, needs to torture an animal – even if they feel the need to eat it. That, in and of itself, shows the person’s true character – or lack of. **TORTURE IS NOT CULTURE!!**

  6. Despina M. Andrelus says:

    “A righteous man regards the life of animals.” – PROVERBS 12:10; “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion & pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” – ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI; “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” – MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.; “I hope to make people realize how totally helpless animals are, how dependent on us, trusting as a child must that we will be kind and take care of their needs… (They) are an obligation put on us, a responsibility we have no rights to neglect, nor to violate by cruelty….” – JAMES HARRIOT; “The greatness of a nation & its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated… I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection of man from the cruelty of man.” – MAHATMA GANDHI

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