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Silence of the Chicks

GRAPHIC: Cal-Cruz Animal Cruelty

Animal Rights -- A Washington, D.C.-based animal protection group, Compassion Over Killing (COK), filed an animal cruelty complaint against California based Cal-Cruz Hatcheries Inc., after obtaining incredibly disturbing video footage of their processing factory.

An undercover investigator from COK shot footage of the alleged abuse which shows hatchlings with ripped skin and exposed organs being thrown into bins, trapped under machinery and drowned. According to the lawsuit, the graphic video documents numerous routine abuses including acts amounting to felony animal cruelty--that are in violation of the California law.

The abuse was originally brought to the attention of the local district attorney in 2009, however, according to Cheryl Leahy, COK s general counsel, despite the video and other legal statements, the DA said they wouldn't be filing charges at that time.

The systematic torture and reckless neglect of baby birds at Cal-Cruz is not only shocking--it is also illegal under the California Business and Professions Code, said Carter Dillard, litigation director for the Animal League Defense Fund (ADLF).

Brian Collins, president of Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, confirmed that the video was indeed taken inside the factory and said he was planning on making a change in the policy regarding rejected chicks.

"I think the employees get desensitized to the actual handling of the bird, and for them, it s a job. [...] Right now, the guideline is every 30 minutes you empty those boxes, I might make it 15 and be more diligent about it." How kind of him

Cal-Cruz hatches and ships millions of chicks each year to growers who raise the birds until they are slaughtered. According to a representative from the death factory, the majority of the chicks are sent to Bauer Family Farms and Carlson Family Farms, where they eventually end up in the meat department of Northern California Grocery Stores.

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