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.Mercy 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.”
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