Exposing Petaluma Poultry

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Petaluma Poultry is a "free range" and partially "organic" subsidiary of Perdue Farms, one of the four largest poultry producers in the United States. It is based in Sonoma County, California. Since 2018, DxE investigators have documented routine violations of California's animal cruelty laws at Petaluma Poultry factory farms, including birds collapsed on the floor or stuck on their backs and unable to walk to food or water, left to slowly starve to death, as well as infectious diseases that threaten public health. Yet, despite repeated reports to the Sonoma County District Attorney, Sheriff's Office, and Animal Control, the authorities have failed to take action against the company.

Read the full investigatory report.

A bird collapsed on their back and struggling to breathe at McCoy's Poultry, a Petaluma Poultry factory farm, in 2018.

September 29, 2018: Rescue Effort at McCoy's Poultry

In 2018, whistleblower footage from McCoy's Poultry, a contract farm supplying Petaluma Poultry, showed birds stuck on their backs or collapsed on the ground, visibly struggling to breathe; birds with splayed legs struggling to walk; and countless dead birds. This footage demonstrates clear violations of California Penal Code Section 597; in particular, birds who are collapsed and unable to walk cannot access food and water and it is a crime to deprive animals of "necessary sustenance, drink, or shelter." 

These crimes were reported to Sonoma County authorities, but no action was taken, so members of the public took action themselves. 

On September 29, 2018, more than 100 people gathered at McCoy's Poultry. Some activists donned biosecurity gear, entered the sheds and identified sick and dying animals. They took these animals out of the sheds and to an emergency medical care tent that had been set up on site to give the birds food and water. They called the authorities to come and see the horrible condition the animals were in with their own eyes and to finally help them. But when the police arrived, instead of helping the sick and starving animals, they arrested 58 people -- including grandmothers, teachers, and journalists -- on felony charges, and ripped dying animals from their arms. 


DxE activists holding sick chickens removed from barns at McCoy's Poultry on Sept. 29, 2018.

The police sent the seized animals to Sonoma County Animal Control. Examination of the birds revealed numerous wing and joint injuries, open sores, reovirus, and necrotic wounds so deep that muscle and bone were exposed. All nine suffering birds were "euthanized" and Sonoma County's own animal services department referred the owner of McCoy's Poultry as a suspect for animal cruelty to the Sheriff's Office. But still, Petaluma Poultry faced no consequences. 

June 13, 2023: Animals Liberated from the Petaluma Poultry Slaughterhouse

Since 2018, DxE investigators have found similarly suffering and neglected animals at several Petaluma Poultry factory farms in Northern California. They have also obtained hidden-camera footage from inside the Petaluma Poultry slaughterhouse showing dozens of birds improperly stunned and killed without being rendered insensible to pain. This is cruel and unnecessary suffering in violation of California's strong animal cruelty statute which explicitly criminalizes inflicting "unnecessary cruelty" on an animal. Additionally, whistleblower-obtained documentation from inside the slaughterhouse shows that the facility's condemnation rate for septicemia of 2.52% is 168 times the national average in 2021, causing substantial public health risk. Documents from the slaughterhouse show that on a single day in April 2023, over 1,000 birds were condemned after being slaughtered due to septicaemia, a form of bacterial blood poisoning, and toxemia.

On June 13, 2023, activists once again took nonviolent direct action to rescue suffering animals from Petaluma Poultry's abuse, this time at the company's slaughterhouse in Petaluma, California. An initial group of activists rescued four sick birds from a transport truck inside the property, and took them to receive emergency medical care. Within an hour, as seen on Facebook livestream, around 200 peaceful demonstrators converged at the slaughterhouse, after hearing about the rescue, to call on Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez to prosecute Petaluma Poultry, not animal rescuers. Some of those people then entered the property and rescued seven more birds from a truck. A third group of activists rescued seven birds from a transport truck stopped along the way to the slaughterhouse. 18 birds were liberated in total.

Activists rescuing sick birds from the Petaluma Poultry slaughterhouse on June 13, 2023.

Read some of the press from this rescue here:

Take Action: Ask Sonoma County District Attorney Carla Rodriguez to Prosecute Petaluma Poultry, Not Animal Rescuers

Please email and/or call District Attorney Rodriguez's office respectfully urging her to finally act on the evidence her office has been receiving for years showing criminal animal cruelty at Perdue's Petaluma Poultry. It is ideal if you can put the message in your own words.

A couple of the key points are that leaving animals who cannot walk to die from starvation or dehydration is a violation of California penal code section 597(b) and that it is the District Attorney's job to prosecute criminal violations of state law within the county.


Office phone number: (707) 565-2311 (During business hours Monday-Friday)

Please also add your name in support of factory farm whistleblowers and animal rescuers who are facing prosecution by signing the petition at