For Immediate Release:
30 November 2019
PETA Reveals Fully Conscious Birds’ Agonising Deaths at Steggles and Lilydale Producers
Sydney – A shocking new PETA video exposé of Australia’s largest chicken producer, Baiada, has revealed widespread cruelty in its breeding facility and abattoir. The company – which slaughters approximately 35% of broiler chickens in Australia – produces the Steggles and “free-range” Lilydale brands, both of which are sold by Woolworths, Coles, and independent grocers. It has also reportedly supplied chicken meat to Pizza Hut, Chicken Treat, and Red Rooster. Guzman y Gomez announced a switch to Lilydale chicken in 2016.
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. The findings of this investigation have been submitted to authorities in New South Wales and Victoria.
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 workers’ behaviour, nor did he hear from the abattoir’s managers that such abuse was unacceptable.
“The presence of CCTV cameras and complaints to management didn’t stop workers from beating chickens’ heads against metal railings,” says PETA’s Emily Rice. “This investigation proves that, even if packages of chicken meat carry a ‘high welfare’ label, animals used for their flesh all end up in the same place – the abattoir – and all are subject to the same systemic cruelty.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that at one point, dead chickens began piling up on the factory floor in pools of water contaminated with blood, feathers, and faeces. Their bodies fell to the floor and stayed there until a worker reshackled them. The eyewitness was told that they could be left on the floor for up to two hours.
Broadcast-quality video footage is available upon request. For more information, please visit PETA.org.au.