The headlines were bleak. Thousands of chickens died of heat stroke inside factory farms in South Carolina. The culprit? Sabotaged ventilation equipment – apparently the work of unknown vandals who seem intent on exacting revenge against the poultry company Pilgrim's Pride and causing immense animal suffering.
Correctly so, rewards are being offered for the arrest of the perpetrators, and Pilgrim's Pride lamented that "these heinous acts resulted in a cruel death for several thousand chickens."
Pilgrim's Pride is of course right, and the fact that these killings were so senseless speaks volumes about the perverse motivations of the perpetrators. But outrage about a specific act of animal abuse from an industry whose systemic practices allow the mistreatment of billions of animals seems perhaps less than genuine. At some similar facilities, the chance of employees themselves engaging in similar behavior may not be as small as we'd like to think: Shockingly, investigations of Pilgrim's Pride facilities have found the company burying birds alive in mass graves, and the USDA has found repeated and severe animal welfare problems at Pilgrim's Pride slaughter facilities.