According to a statement issued by the Animal Legal Defense Fund
(ALDF), the lawyers for the group Compassion Over Killing
(COK) said a complaint was filed in the California Superior Court on Jan. 11 to "stop the alleged ongoing animal abuse" that occurs at the hatchery.
COK is a Washington D.C. based animal rights group.
A COK investigator was working undercover at the Santa Cruz based hatchery and managed to take appalling footage of what happens inside the hatchery. The video documents several abuses, which ALDF says amount to felony acts of animal cruelty. These acts are said by ALDF to violate California law which comprises unlawful and unfair business practices under the California Business and Professions Code.
“The systematic torture and reckless neglect of baby birds at Cal-Cruz is not only shocking—it is also illegal under the California Business and Professions Code,” explains ALDF’s director of litigation Carter Dillard.
After the footage was captured at Cal-Cruz, COK gave the video evidence to authorities.
Watching the video workers are shown tossing the hatchlings into sorting bins on the processing machinery. The video shows deplorable acts such as chicks struggling as they drown in pools of brown liquid waste, unwanted and alive hatchlings "tossed like garbage into bins" and then shoved down a clogged disposal chute by a worker. Other footage shows chicks with missing skin, severely injured feet and legs, dead hatchlings, and mutilated living chicks stuck in machinery.
After the video was submitted to authorities, a follow-up investigation ensued and was conducted by human law enforcement representatives. The follow-up confirmed the evidence of abuse and neglect.
According to ALDF and COK, Cal-Cruz "hatches thousands of chicks per week for shipment to growers," which equate to millions of chicks a year. The growers, in turn, house and feed the chicks until they are ready for slaughter. This lawsuit was filed as a means to stop unlawful practices that violate standards and the group seeks to end "abusive and neglectful practices causing unnecessary suffering at Cal-Cruz."
“These mistreated and abused baby birds deserve justice. It’s time that their suffering be recognized under the law and permanently stopped,” says Cheryl Leahy, general counsel of Compassion Over Killing.
San Jose Mercury News
reported Cal-Cruz has not responded at this point.
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