Pilgrim's Pride ends farmer contract after animal cruelty claim

By Oscar Rousseau contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pilgrim's Pride said it 'will not tolerate animal abuse' on any of its contract farms
Pilgrim's Pride said it 'will not tolerate animal abuse' on any of its contract farms

Related tags: Animal welfare, Poultry

The US’s second largest chicken firm, Pilgrim’s Pride, has launched an investigation into welfare standards after an investigation uncovered alleged animal cruelty at its contract farm in Georgia.

Pilgrim’s Pride has terminated its contract with Plainview Farm in Hull, Georgia, which has been accused of inflicting “extreme animal suffering​” in a Humane Society of the United States (HUSU) investigation.

Undercover HUSU activists claimed Plainview Farm owners bludgeoned birds to death with metal rods and twisted the necks of sick or injured livestock. The farm has roughly 126,000 chickens across several barns and HUSU said many of the birds had developed leg deformities, as many were grown too big to quickly. Chickens were also tossed through the air and lived in cramped conditions with an environment thick with ammonia.

Owned by Brazilian meatpacker JBS, Pilgrim’s Pride​ produces more than one billion chickens per year and said its own investigation into the matter revealed its contract grower violated the terms of the contract.

As such, Plainview Farms will no longer supply one of America’s largest poultry processors with chicken.

In a statement, Pilgrim’s said: “Our investigation determined that the actions on the farm were in direct conflict with the animal welfare training provided by Pilgrim’s to the farm owner and in violation of the Pilgrim’s Animal Welfare Program.

Ensuring the well-being of the chickens under our care is an uncompromising commitment at Pilgrim’s. This isolated incident of unacceptable behaviour does not reflect our approach to animal welfare or the approach of the more than 4,000 family farm partners who interact with our chickens daily.

Pilgrim’s will not tolerate animal abuse. We regret these actions have taken place and are immediately taking steps to reinforce our commitment to animal welfare throughout our supply chain and in our production processes.​”

HUSU has filed a complaint with the Madison County Sheriff’s Department in Danielsville, Georgia, over the alleged acts.

Plainview Farm could not be reached for comment.

Related topics: Meat

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