Hatchery Horror: Video Shows Live Chicks Being Discharged By Being Thrown Live Into Grinder


An undercover video by Mercy for Animals purportedly reveals a shocking treatment of baby chicks at the Hy-Line North America’s hatchery in Spencer, Iowa. The video below shows workers discarding unwanted chicks by tossing them alive into a grinder while others are left to die on the factory floor.

Hy-Line says that it is investigating the allegations and video. The video was shot by a MFA employee who got a job at the plant and taped the abuses for two weeks.

We have seen other undercover videotapes by animal organizations recently, here.NewBannerLeftMercy for Animals routinely does undercover operations, though such investigations can raise legal questions of trespass and even defamation. The use of such undercover agents creates a legal risk for animal rights organizations, as shown in past cases. In Food Lion v. ABC , a store was shown in an undercover segment engaging in unsanitary practices and ABC accused Food Lion of selling rat-gnawed cheese, meat that was past its expiration date and old fish and ham that had been washed in bleach to kill the smell. Food lion denied the allegations and sued ABC for trespass. A jury ruled against ABC and awarded Food Lion punitive damages for the investigation involving ABC journalists lying on their application forms and assumed positions under false pretenses. The Fourth Circuit however wiped out the punitive damage award while upholding the verdicts of trespass and breach of loyalty with awards of only $1 for each. Business can seek to sue organizations for product disparagement and other tort-related claims.

WARNING: This video shows disturbing images of animal cruelty.

While Hy-Line insists that the video shows violations of its animal welfare policies, it appears to defend the use of the grinder as a method for “instantaneous euthanasia.”

United Egg Producers also defended the practice and explained “There is, unfortunately, no way to breed eggs that only produce female hens. If someone has a need for 200 million male chicks, we’re happy to provide them to anyone who wants them. But we can find no market, no need.”

For the full story, click here.

28 thoughts on “Hatchery Horror: Video Shows Live Chicks Being Discharged By Being Thrown Live Into Grinder

  1. As someone who has chickens in the backyard that produce eggs for me, I am horrified at the treatment of these animals. I can understand culling the males but there must be a more humane method. Or maybe just figure out a way to produce females through genetic engineering so you dont have to even discard the males.

  2. Byron:

    I would be suspicious is someone now applies for a position in your private chicken operations and brings a video camera. Keep my number on speed dial.


  3. I have a use for them, seriously. My husband keeps pet snakes. He buys prekilled frozen mice to feed them each week. If these factories killed the male chicks humanly, as they do with prekilled mice, and sold them in petstores as snake food, it would save the lives of millions of mice, who are produced only as food.
    I would really like to get this idea out to others that there are uses for these chicks. Can anyone help me spread this and perhaps put it into practice?

  4. CL:

    good idea and a chick would be a substantial meal for snakes over 3′ long up to about 6′. one of those vs. 2 or 3 mice.

    Also large lizards such as monitors.

  5. Prof. Turley:

    Anyone helping me with the chickens would want me to take care of them as well. Those chickens are pampered peckers and eat well, live in the shade with a little bit of sun, are well protected from the fox and his many friends and have all day to think and relax. They are on a permanent vacation. But just in case PETA shows up I certainly know where to turn. Will you work for eggs?

    The four of them produce about 20 eggs per week which we end up giving away all but about 8-10. A dozen eggs in the store cost about 2 bucks, a dozen fresh eggs cost about 3.90 figuring 2 bags of food per month at 13 per bag.

    I think that is the going rate of return for most real farmers!

  6. Business before Profits or is that Profits before Business? Are the stockholders still owed a duty? I do not like this but, they are in business. So why not sell them to be raised on a farm for the people that are in need?

  7. Funny how the public can get worked up about this (or a soldier throwing a puppy off a cliff) but not the torture of fellow human beings. (Not counting this blog’s readership, of course.)

  8. Anon: That is a great idea to sell them to people in need, or even give them away.
    Other ideas besides that and snake food could be:
    -as pets for children (they are super-cute)
    -in zoos for viewing
    -in zoos for animal food
    -to the poor in foreign countries who might not care how big it is, just that it provides food

    It is a mask for laziness and lack of creativity that the United Egg Producers say they can’t find anyone willing to take the chicks off their hands.

  9. C.L.,

    Those are all very good ideas.


    Agreed. We should be angry about all of it. Maybe we need a reality show with contestents subjected to torture techniques approved by Yoo. If one progresses sucessfully then one is subjected to techniques approved by Dick. One must be pro-torture to apply. If a contestent confesses to things that are not true they will be thrown live into the grinder. Just think of those ratings!

  10. Commercial laying hens usually lay one egg at a time, about evert 26 hours. In a wild setting, they would lay 4-6 eggs as a clutch (over about a one week period) and incubate them over the 21 day time to hatch. In commercial operations, chickens rest usually one day a week. So, on average, a chicken probably lays 5-6 eggs per week. It really isn’t possible to speed up the process, you would end up with malformed eggs. In a one year period, hens lay up to 300 eggs. Hope this helps!
    B.S. Animal Science, Michigan State University

    I will also add to this that if they do not produce as expected they will be killed as well. That is the problem with commercial hatchery’s.

    Another thing under the BushI administration the Fed Crop Insurance became a scam for the Invested Repugs. I believe that it is Montana that this happened. Raw land, unproven yield, USDA statistics says that so many bushels (pounds) per acre, Fed Crop Insurance. You would not believe for a very small investment of 100,000 the scam artists walked away with 7.1 million and never tried it again. Must have worked at enron.

  11. O.K.two things. 1) No more McNuggets for me , and 2) We’re changing the name of our band to “The Pampered Peckers”. Thanks Byron.

  12. Seamus:

    glad to be of service, please send a CD of your next album. I hope I see only a chicken on the cover.

    Playing back-up for the Pussy Cat Dolls…..

  13. Too many people who have no clue where their food comes from. This is not a new practice. Rooster chicks have always been destroyed.

    If you sincerely care about farm animals, protest the confinement operations and treatment of laying hens, not farm practices that date back well over a century if not longer.

    Ma and Pa kettle killed the rooster chicks too, and I doubt their method was any more humane than a grinder.

  14. I’m glad I get the free-range eggs, even though they are painfully more expensive. I’ve always been suspicious of the ones from factory farms. Looks like that feeling was justified.

  15. Ryan:

    HAHAHAHAHAHAH Thats great, it would only be better if they were kittens!!!!!!!!!!


    are you a Jeffery Dahlmer wanabe?

  16. I just noticed the “chicks” in the picture are ducks and not chickens. So much for my powers of observation.

    I will assume our host did that purposefully to gage the level of blogger observational acuity.

  17. The United Egg Producers is a discredited trade organization with a sordid history of consumer fraud and animal cruelty. The “UEP Certified” program allows hens to be confined in cages that provide each animal less space than a sheet of paper to spend her life. More at http://www.humanesociety.org/uep

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