"Our investigation proves that the cruel treatment of chickens by Tyson Foods is a systematic, company-wide problem not isolated incidents as the company would have the public believe," says Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund Executive Director.
Speed maims and kills
The investigator points to the speed of the conveyor belts and lines on which chickens are hung as one of the main problems. The plant processes up to a quarter of a million chickens a day, forcing each worker to handle thirty-five birds per minute. The slaughter process moves so fast, there's no way the workers can handle the birds humanely. The speed also makes repetitive stress injuries common among workers.
ALDF seeks justice
ALDF is asking the Attorney General of the State of Delaware, where Tyson Foods is incorporated, to investigate and sanction the company. Additionally, ALDF has filed formal complaints against Tyson with:
- United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service: Requesting enforcement of basic food safety practices outlined in the Poultry Products Inspection Act and humane animal handling practices.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Asking OSHA to cite Tyson for conveyor belt speeds that violate its safe workplace standards, increasing the risk of workers suffering repetitive motion stress or being maimed and/or injured.
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC): Accusing Tyson Foods of making false statements in corporate and investor materials about prioritizing animal welfare, while refusing to improve the treatment of animals at its farms and slaughterhouses.
ALDF is urging the company to immediately reduce the speed at which chickens are slaughtered and to set a firm date for switching a majority of processing plants over to "controlled atmosphere stunning." This method uses carbon dioxide or other gases to render birds unconscious before they are slaughtered.