Foster Farms is the largest poultry producer in California and it is rapidly expanding, despite DxE’s reports of criminal animal cruelty at the company's chicken and turkey farms and its chicken slaughterhouse in Livingston. Help us expose Foster Farms.
Direct Action Everywhere investigators have documented animal abuse at numerous Foster Farms chicken and turkey farms in California. In many cases, they have rescued animals in need of emergency medical care. During a 2018 investigation at a Foster Farms turkey farm, DxE investigators found a turkey with a hugely oversized crop. They rushed her to the vet and got her an emergency surgery to remove pine shavings that she had eaten either due to starvation or stress. Sally the turkey recovered and found a loving home.
Earlier that year, when a Foster Farms slaughter truck carrying 5,000 chickens overturned in Washington, activists with DxE and The Save Movement attempted to rescue injured birds at the scene, but Foster Farms employees sent the birds who hadn't died in the crash to the slaughterhouse on another truck. The birds' prolonged suffering was not a concern for Foster Farms.
In 2022, during another investigation at a Foster Farms turkey farm, DxE investigators found dozens of baby turkeys collapsed on their backs, dead baby turkeys having their eyes and brains eaten out by bugs, and buckets filled with dead bodies. Investigators rescued Georgie, a baby turkey suffering from an eye infection and Omphalitis, a bacterial infection that often leads to septicemia and death.
At Foster Farms chicken farms, DxE investigators have found dead, partially buried chickens, chickens with splayed legs struggling to walk, and both live and dead chickens trapped inside of feeders. The dead birds likely suffered slow deaths after they got stuck.
Our repeated investigations show that these cruel and tragic incidents are not out of the ordinary for Foster Farms. Across their facilities, countless animals are collapsed, starving, and diseased.
In September 2021, DxE released hidden camera footage from inside Foster Farms' Livingston slaughterhouse showing chickens routinely missing the stun bath and a device designed to cut their necks, leaving it to workers to identify conscious birds before their evisceration, at a speed of 140 birds per minute. Sick and injured birds are thrown to the ground and sometimes buried beneath other chickens. This conduct is a violation of the company's policy, its American Humane animal welfare certification, and California animal cruelty laws, but state and local authorities have ignored our formal complaints against the company.
The same day that DxE released this footage, a dozen activists staged a blockade at the entrance to the slaughterhouse.
While a truck was stopped from entering the slaughterhouse, DxE activists Alexandra Paul and Alicia Santurio ran up to the truck and pulled two chickens out of the cages. They carried them away to safety, got them medical care, and named them Ethan and Jax. Watch the rescue here:
Ethan was very sick and sadly, he didn't make it, but Jax recovered and he is thriving at a sanctuary. You can see more of Jax's story in the video below:
Alexandra and Alicia were facing theft charges for rescuing Ethan and Jax. Their trial started March 7, 2023 in Merced, California, a full jury was selected on March 10, and the trial concluded March 17 after six hours of jury deliberation with a "not guilty" verdict for both defendants!
This was the second acquittal for open rescue activists in what could soon become a series of legal wins that opens the floodgates to a new view of animals under the law. You can find out more about the #FosterFarmsTrial and other "Right to Rescue" cases at RightToRescue.com.
This trial was an opportunity to bring attention to criminal activity within the state-funded slaughter industry and to let a jury decide where they stand on the issue.
Foster Farms received a combined total of $6.5 million from the state and local government for expansion at its Livingston slaughterhouse, money which has enabled continued animal cruelty, environmental, and workers’ rights violations. The Livingston slaughterhouse was the site of a COVID-19 outbreak that infected over 400 workers and killed at least 8 as of September 2020. Cal OSHA fined the plant nearly $200,000 for 14 total COVID-19 violations, including failure to timely report work-related fatalities.
Foster Farms also faces legal action over its vast water usage; it is the largest consumer of water in the city of Livingston, using as much as four million gallons of drinkable water per day. Meanwhile, residents in rural Livingston, who are predominantly Latino and disproportionately low-income, face water shortages.
We hope to build off the #FosterFarmsTrial win and continue shining a light on Foster Farms' violent and destructive behavior -- and we need your help.
Contact Merced County District Attorney Nicole Silveira and ask her to prosecute Foster Farms for animal cruelty. You can call the DA's office at: (209) 385-7381 or email the office at: Dainfo@co.merced.ca.us.
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