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Contact: Matt Johnson,, (319) 464-5985

Activists Find Piles of Dead Birds at “Certified-Humane” Egg Supplier

February 9, 2017,  Denair, CA – Today, the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) released an investigation into a “Certified Humane” cage-free egg supplier to grocery chain Safeway. The investigation at Rainbow Farms in Denair, CA found chickens so densely crowded they were being crushed to death by other birds -- in stark contrast to Safeway’s “Certified-Humane” requirements for all of its cage-free and organic egg suppliers. The DxE activists say this and other investigations of purportedly high-welfare farms show the inherent violence in using animals for food.

“Safeway and others like them are putting animals into horrific confinement where they end up killing each other,” said DxE investigator Matt Johnson. “With or without a cage, it can never be called humane.”

Rainbow Farms in Denair, CA supplies Albertson Companies owned Safeway with cage-free eggs, which are sold under the “Certified-Humane” label from the Humane Farm Animal Care Program. The “Certified-Humane” label standards list trapping as a condition of which particular attention must be paid when looking at flock performance. Trapping is the prevention of escape; DxE activists found records at the farm showing that at least 125 birds died in a single day from piling, where the birds are so confined they crowd on top of each other causing birds to not only get trapped but crushed to death as a result. This is DxE’s second investigation into a Safeway supplier in the last year; an egg farm investigation in 2016 by DxE at egg giant JS West found chickens in cages being trampled to death.  

Additionally, investigators cite additional  concerns about Safeway’s egg supply, saying that birds who are in cage-free facilities are even more likely to die from piling than their counterparts in caged egg operations. The investigators found piles of dead chickens among the living. In 2012, Safeway took the step to require all of their cage-free and organic egg suppliers to also be Certified Humane. Certified Humane is a private label that activists say has weak and rarely-enforced standards. In addition, advocates say, government agencies with the responsibility to regulate our food supply are asleep at the wheel. Federal agencies such as the USDA, who regulates animal agriculture, have shifted towards allowing nearly any animal product to be labeled as “humane.”

While the investigators were documenting the abuse at the farm, they  saw a bird (named “Scarlett” by the investigators) going nearly blind from being pecked. Scarlett was struggling to survive as the birds climbed over each other in the extreme crowding. The investigators felt morally compelled to remove Scarlett for immediate veterinary care. Today, Scarlett lives safely at an animal sanctuary.

“Safeway needs to be held accountable for what happens to chickens like Scarlett,” noted DxE investigator Paul Picklesimer. “They put the health and safety of both humans and animals at risk. We saw horrible animal abuse, the air alone was unbearable.”

DxE activists have held demonstrations in over 30 countries and over 160 cities worldwide. Protests are planned around the country this month in support.

Access DxE’s full press folder, including videos and high resolution photos, here.

Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a network of animal rights activists across the world.  We use creative protest to challenge the use of animals for food, clothing, experimentation, and entertainment.  Visit Direct Action Everywhere on Facebook and at  Follow us on Twitter @DxEverywhere.




  • “It’s shameful and irresponsible to think that we can put chickens through so much pain and call it humane.” said DxE Investigator Sara Muñiz.

  • “Every investigation that we have released shows the same horrific violence against animals. Out of all the farms that I have been to, I have never seen piles of dead birds like we saw at Rainbow Farms.” said DxE Co-Founder and Investigator Wayne Hsiung.

  • “Stepping inside this farm was like stepping into another world, a world filled with suffering,” said DxE Investigator Max Irving.



See a gallery of photos from the investigation below. Click here to download all images as a zip file. For b-roll video, click here.



Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) is a grassroots network of animal rights activists. Starting in the San Francisco Bay Area in late 2013, DxE has since grown to have participating chapters in over 160 cities in 30 different countries. Drawing from the power of the grassroots and groundbreaking social scientific research, DxE uses creative nonviolent protest to challenge speciesism throughout society.


In January and November 2015, DxE released investigations into two of Whole Foods market’s most notable suppliers, including a “Certified Humane” egg farm and a turkey facility that was one of only three farms out of Whole Foods’ 2100+ suppliers to receive a 5+ rating on its Global Animal Partnership welfare scheme. The investigations and the ensuing protests around the world received coverage in hundreds of news outlets, including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post.


In February, July, October and November 2016, DxE released investigations of supposedly humane facilities, including a model egg supplier under California’s Proposition 2, which bans battery cages for hens; a “natural” pork supplier to Costco and the LA Dodgers; a cage-free Costco supplier; and the turkey supplier to the White House. The investigations received media coverage in the New York Times, Washington Post, and Daily Mail, among other outlets.

In June 2016, DxE released an investigation into dog meat farms in Yulin, China on ABC’s Nightline. DxE compared the violence against dogs in Yulin to violence against animals on farms in the United States.

DxE’s Open Rescue Network provides open-source educational tools and resources to democratize investigatory work. The Open Rescue Network intends to serve as infrastructure for independent, grassroots teams of animal rights investigators around the world.



Direct Action Everywhere has been featured in the New York Times, ABC, and the Washington Post among hundreds of other media outlets. See press highlights and a full press archive here. To contact our press team, email