For Immediate Release:

12 December 2019

PETA Asks NRL Team CEO to Cut Ties With Baiada, Whose Workers Used Birds as Punching Bags

Sydney – Following the release of a shocking investigation into Baiada, which slaughters approximately 35% of broiler chickens in Australia and produces the Steggles and “free-range” Lilydale brands, animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has reached out to the CEO of the Sydney Roosters, Joe Kelly, asking him to reconsider the team’s sponsorship ties with Steggles.

PETA’s recent exposé into Baiada revealed extreme cruelty at its breeding facility and abattoir. An eyewitness saw workers crushing chickens’ necks under metal bars and then yanking on their legs. Injured birds were left to die in agony. Workers were also seen punching chickens in the head and bashing them against metal railings. After being run through an electrified water bath, many birds were still fully conscious as their throats were slit with a spinning blade.

In its letter to Kelly, the group points out that chickens were thrown up to 4 metres and that two workers tore the heads off fully conscious chickens. One worker even remarked that he preferred working in live hanging because he could “just start smashing birds” there. In all, the eyewitness documented the egregious abuse of chickens by at least 21 workers. Some of these incidents occurred just a few metres from CCTV cameras that, according to workers, are monitored only intermittently by management.

“Sports sponsorships serve as season-long ad campaigns for the brands involved,” says PETA spokesperson Emily Rice. “We’d like to see the Roosters take a meaningful stance against the egregious cruelty these intelligent birds endure at the hands of Baiada workers by divorcing their brand from Steggles.”

A veterinary expert who reviewed the footage described it as “numerous examples of chickens being subjected to unnecessary, unjustifiable, and unreasonable pain and suffering as a result of rough and violent handling”. During the investigation, Baiada was notified that workers were abusing chickens at the abattoir. After the complaint, the eyewitness saw no change in the behaviour of workers, nor did he hear from the abattoir’s managers that such abuse was unacceptable.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.

A copy of the letter is available here. For more information, please visit