Exposed: Birds Beaten at Australia’s Largest Chicken Producer

A breaking new PETA video exposé of Australia’s largest chicken producer, Baiada – which slaughters approximately 35% of chickens raised for meat in Australia – found widespread cruelty in its breeding facility and abattoir. Baiada’s abattoir has CCTV cameras, but that didn’t prevent the workers from using chickens as punching bags.

Heads Crushed With Metal Bars

At Baiada’s breeding facility, an eyewitness saw many lame, injured, and sick birds.

Because of the stress of severe crowding at the facility, many birds fought with each other, often sustaining fatal injuries. Some of these injured birds – such as Ringo (pictured above) – were left to suffer and die slowly and in pain.

Others were grabbed by workers who crushed their heads under metal bars while yanking on their legs and then left them to die in agony.

Baiada Worker killing a chicken

Chickens Used as Punching Bags

Chickens who survived this treatment at the breeding facility were sent to Baiada’s abattoir. There, an eyewitness saw workers frequently punching live chickens in the head and bashing them against metal railings before shackling them by the legs. Even though CCTV cameras at the abattoir were operating, that didn’t prevent the workers from abusing the frightened animals.

One worker told the eyewitness that he would “just start smashing birds”. The eyewitness saw another worker repeatedly tearing birds’ heads off – and even putting a severed head on his finger and wiggling it about like a finger puppet.

A chicken's head

Chickens’ Throats Slit for Steggles and Lilydale Free Range

Even though they were run through an electrified water bath intended to stun them, many chickens were still fully conscious when their throats were slit with a spinning blade. A worker then manually slit the throats of those who hadn’t been killed by the blade.

Baiada produces the Lilydale Free Range and Steggles brands, which are stocked by Woolworths and Coles as well as by independent grocers nationally, and reportedly also supplies chicken flesh to Pizza Hut, Chicken Treat, and Red Rooster. Since 2016, it has supplied Lilydale Free Range products to Guzman y Gomez.

Baiada worker cutting chicken necks

Dead chickens on the ground

Chickens Deserve Better

Chickens are inquisitive, intelligent animals who, according to animal behaviourist Dr Chris Evans of Australia’s Macquarie University, “are good at solving problems”. He explains that they’re able to understand that recently hidden objects still exist, a concept that human infants take months to understand. Discussing chickens’ capabilities, he says, “As a trick at conferences, I sometimes list these attributes, without mentioning chickens, and people think I’m talking about monkeys.”

In nature, chickens form friendships and social hierarchies, recognise one another and develop a pecking order, love and care for their young, and enjoy taking dust baths, making nests, and roosting in trees. Those raised for their flesh are unable to engage in any of these activities.

A sick chicken at Baiada

Baiada Chicken Breeding Facility

Baiada chicken breeding facility

You Can Help Stop Cruelty to Chickens

During the course of the investigation, Baiada was called and notified that workers were abusing chickens at the abattoir. After the complaint, the eyewitness neither saw any change in workers’ behaviour nor heard from the facility’s management that such abuse was unacceptable.

PETA has submitted its findings of rampant abuse at Baiada’s breeding facility and abattoir to authorities in Australia.

The best thing you can do for chickens is to stop eating them and spread the word to your friends and family about the animal welfare problems caused by raising chickens for food. Even if the label reads, “humane” or “free-range”, animals are still subjected to cruel standard industry practices, including severe crowding and a terrifying death.