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Letter to the Editor: Chickens suffer in plants



Consumers who eat chicken may be unaware of the extent to which these animals suffer before arriving in the neatly wrapped cellophane packages.

A recent 10-week undercover investigation of a slaughterhouse in Heflin, Ala. found workers ripping conscious chickens' heads off, slaughter machinery systematically mutilating chickens, and thousands of birds were entering the scalding tank completely conscious and being scalded to death.

The company said last Wednesday it will investigate allegations of inhumane chicken slaughter, but evidently, a pattern of ongoing animal cruelty seems to exist at the companies plants.

In a signed affidavit, Virgil Butler, a former employee for five years at one of the slaughter plants in the receiving department and on the kill floor, described repetitive acts of extreme cruelty to chickens. Poultry workers intentionally scalded live chickens, broke chickens' legs to fit the shackles instead of adjusting the shackles, and deliberately ran over chickens with a forklift and laughed about it. This abuse occurred under the direction of supervisors. According to Mr. Butler, "these kinds of incidents sometimes led to hours of suffering for chickens with broken legs and wings, and were ongoing and repetitive - just a part of a regular night's work."

These kind of abuses don't seem to concern plant executives, but consumers have the power to make them take action to stop this.

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