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Chicks, Man

Understanding that the inhumane killing of animals is something that goes on every day in nations with industrialized food systems does not make this video, shot by an undercover activist from an animal rights group, any easier to watch, or even hear about.

ChicksThe Des Moines Register: "The video, shot with a hidden camera and microphone by a Mercy for Animals employee who got a job at the plant, shows a Hy-Line worker sorting through a conveyor belt of chirping chicks, flipping some of them into a chute like a poker dealer flips cards. These chicks, which a narrator says are males, are then shown being dropped alive into a grinding machine. In other parts of the video, a chick is shown dying on the factory floor amid a heap of egg shells after falling through a sorting machine. Another chick, also still alive, is seen lying on the floor after getting scalded by a wash cycle, according to the video narrator. Hy-Line said the video 'appears to show an inappropriate action and violation of our animal welfare policies,' referring to chicks on the factory floor. But the company also noted that 'instantaneous euthanasia' - a reference to killing of male chicks by the grinder - is a standard practice supported by the animal veterinary and scientific community."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP (warning: extremely graphic) ...

Circus Handlers Beat Elephants in New Ringling Bros. PETA Video [tr]

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  1. Compassion is not a pie where you can only get so many slices. Compassion is a bottomless ocean, and we all should open our hearts to compassion of all sentient beings. Just because one works towards increased animal welfare, doesn't mean they are also not working on issues of social justice for fellow humans as well. And please also consider the issues of social justice within the confines of industrialized farming, which also marginalizes and mistreats it's employees nearly as systematically as it does the animals.

    In the not to distant past I'm sure many people made the same argument that GLBTQ, minorities, women, etc. didn't have souls, just as people currently try to justify systemic exploitation of animals for food. There are many commonalities in the systematic oppression or exploitation of groups of people on the heteronormative fringes of societal standard and that of farmed animals, even today. People take the issue of animal welfare and animal rights very personally, because in a sense it holds up a mirror to one's own diet, lifestyle, and practices, and that's a very humbling experience. People get defensive, and put off. But sometimes the cage must be rattled, tactfully, to get a free mind and objectively reflect on the state of industrialized agriculture, on how it negatively affects the animals, the environment, employee rights, human health, the economy, and the human spirit for compassion and benevolence to the most fragile beings on earth. I think many people have become desensitized to barbaric practices that are now quotidian instead of calling for social and cultural evolution.

    I've been vegan for 6 years and done nothing more than increase my consciousness of ALL issues, whether human-, animal-, or environmentally-related. Not to mention helped my health and well being in ways that could never be quantified. No one can force personal changes on another being, after all, this is all about compassion for animals. And humans are animals too :), but the one thing I think people can agree on is education. I think for whatever reasons, most of America is consciously or unconsciously avoids educating themselves on issues of animal welfare. If every one sees what's really going on and makes an informed decision for themselves, that's my goal. But to do that, videos like this need to be accessible and promoted to the public.

    RE: PETA- This investigation was done by the group Mercy for Animals and they are an amazing organization. All other vegetarians and vegans I know cannot support PETA's tactics as I cannot either.

    Posted by: Jacqueline | Sep 2, 2009 3:45:19 PM

  2. I'm not interested in watching the video, I got the point anyway...
    It's pointless, really. the fur and meat industry will never die; Just as there are enough ignorant people to do drugs, there are also even more who support animal killers.
    I bet that dogs would be killed too providing that their meat tasted good in a sandwich: let's all eat anything that moves, oh, look, a dolphin, let's kill that too, I bet he's yummy with the right sauce...

    Posted by: elle | Sep 2, 2009 4:03:20 PM

  3. I HATE that animals die "just" so I can eat them. Really, I do.

    Of course, there's billions of fucking people on this planet now, so either kill some of them off or find industrial food solutions. The latter is a moral conundrum to me, but it's beyond fixing now.

    Posted by: Drew | Sep 2, 2009 4:04:56 PM

  4. I guess I was lucky growing up, since my grandfather raised hens and we had eggs all our own. Roosters can't be kept together because they will kill each other, and I've seen my share of hens pretty much raped by the few roosters he kept. It's not a pretty sight, but then again I guess ground up live chicks isn't either.

    Posted by: Jesus | Sep 2, 2009 4:06:13 PM

  5. After reading the above comments I'm off to make a chicken salad sandwich (really I am.) Come on people, there's so much suffering in the human world to be concerned about, let's keep things in prospective - its a fucking chicken!!! PETA is a fucking joke, I wish they would use their resources/money/man power to help humankind.

    Posted by: Scrufff` | Sep 2, 2009 4:12:55 PM

  6. I'm going to KFC for dinner tonight. Mmm.... finger lickin' good.

    Posted by: DCRebel | Sep 2, 2009 4:27:36 PM

  7. Actually grinding is the most humane way to kill the chicks. Gassing them causes pain and can result in incomplete deaths or can draw out the death. All major science and veterinary boards agree that this is the fastest and most humane way to euthanize. As for beak trimming, they aren't debeaked. The jagged, hook end of their beaks are trimmed. This prevents the birds from pecking one another and cannibalising themselves. Birds naturally establish a pecking order (this is where we get the expression from) to assert the alpha's dominance and can result in some pretty horrific injuries. As for free-range birds, it might sound prettier and more romantic but the reality is the birds are far dirtier, more prone to disease, lay their eggs in manure and eat the manure of the other birds. They also have far higher mortality rates. What is more humane, housing the bird in cages (and I've seen them, they can move around. They are designed with food on one end and water on the other so they can certainly move) where they are out of the elements, protected from predators and at a reduced exposure to disease and vermin or throwing them outdoors and letting them fend for themselves?

    Posted by: declanatl | Sep 2, 2009 4:31:16 PM

  8. "thought gay people were among the most compassionate souls in this world"

    I learned a long time ago the exact opposite is true. Narrow-mindedness is also rampant in our community, sadly.

    As for the chicks... I've always bought free-range eggs just because I don't think animals should treated like this. I do believe animals have souls, and I do believe there are far more respectful ways of making food out them. Tossing them all into a grinder, while quick, is fucking sick any way I look at it.

    Posted by: Doof | Sep 2, 2009 5:38:29 PM

  9. Seriously? Why are we blaming the farms anyway? What do you expect to happen when 2.00$ a pound is the norm for meat? We want food for cheap and this is how corners get cut.

    And if you think buying "free range" or "happy chickens" is helping the matter you're just stupid. Those labels aren't regulated at all and therefore probably and most likely aren't happening the way you imagine it. The organic industry is a gimmick as well, more than half of it isn't from this country, and if it's not from this country then it can't be regulated.

    Quit kidding yourselves. I grew up with chickens and the way they're killed on a small farm isn't much better and it could be spun to look even worse too, just like this video has probably done.

    Posted by: Washington | Sep 2, 2009 5:52:59 PM

  10. If I had a choice myself between dying that way and dying after seven years of agony from cancer like my mother did, I'd choose the grinder. Anyone with even a hint of sense would.

    I don't see it as cruel. I see it as appealing to emotions, not intellect. People are just too quick to whine "oh, that looks terrible" instead of actually THINKING about whether it's painful or not.

    Veganism is immoral. We are naturally omnivores. Better every animal on Earth die in agony than one human die for any reason.

    Posted by: Blurgle | Sep 2, 2009 7:21:20 PM

  11. Why can't they just let the baby male chicks grow up and harvest them as chicken?

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 2, 2009 7:36:02 PM

  12. "thought gay people were among the most compassionate souls in this world" -- Um, dumbest comment I've ever read here. I'm compassionate, but not stupid, oblivious and unrealistic in regards to this matter.

    1) Male chickens don't have as much meat and can be more agressive; their ROI is too low to keep them alive

    2) Vegetarians, get real! Meat is nature's source of food for every animal on the planet, including us. Your poetic nature of loving "all living creatures" is cute, but not sustainable or healthy for all 300 million people in the United States.

    There's a reason humans are designed to a) chew meat and b) taste protein(s) like meat. It's evolution and suddenly you think you're smarter and better than others by forgoing meat altogether.

    Posted by: Drew | Sep 2, 2009 9:21:23 PM

  13. there must be some way of anesthetizing the chicks before disposing of them. regardless of how quick it is, grinding them up alive and aware seems unnecessarily cruel.

    Posted by: el polacko | Sep 2, 2009 9:55:30 PM

  14. I won't watch it because I'll be shocked and cry.
    I eat chicken on occasion.
    I own a cat and she's probably the most important thing in my life right now.
    I just turned 30.
    I abhor violence, torture and pain.
    There are grey areas, lads.

    Posted by: BooBoo | Sep 2, 2009 10:14:03 PM

  15. Animals do not to be killed to sustain humans. And how anyone reaches the conclusion that they have authority over any other living creature is beyond me. Also, don't use the bullshit excuse that we have to kill each other to live. As humans, we have more than enough resources and knowledge to live on a plant based diet.

    Posted by: Torb | Sep 2, 2009 10:16:45 PM

  16. FACT: Vegans live longer than omnivores (on average).

    We don't need to eat animals. It's better for everyone when we don't.

    Posted by: Charles | Sep 2, 2009 10:19:13 PM

  17. @ Drew
    Vegetarian and vegan diets produce healthier people.
    Here is a cute video that illustrates the similarities between humans and herbivores:

    p.s. It takes 5,000 gallons of water and 16 pounds of grain to produce 1 pound of meat, while growing 1 pound of wheat only requires 25 gallons. Also, maybe the solution to sustaining such a large population would be to downsize.

    Posted by: Torb | Sep 2, 2009 10:33:50 PM

  18. A quick death in a grinder is not guaranteed. They could have a wing cut or a leg or two cut off first. That won't hurt, will it? It's certainly not cruel... (read with sarcasm).

    That said, the vegans who recorded the video provided no solution other than suggesting you change your life to live they way they want you to. For that I suggest one of the plants deliver all of the male chicks to them and see what the vegans do with them. I think I saw somewhere that one plant could produce 130,000 a day... Would the vegans make sure they were all fed and cared for?

    As for more useful suggestions, the males could go to an ag programs or be raised to feed the poor (without concern for profit). They could also add one step to the process - stun them before going into the grinder.

    Posted by: Rick | Sep 2, 2009 11:10:17 PM


    The chicks have their beaks modified because otherwise they would peck each other to death, so they modify and take out the point in the beaks so the chickens don't injure and harm each other.

    I think that until humans are 100% at equal rights w/ one another, I'm not wasting my time getting up in arms because male chicks get killed in a grinder. Sorry. There are far more egregious human rights violations in the world. And humans are above all other animals, we are the only ones who have taken our thoughts to the next level and can communicate and express our emotions, who act with free will and not on instinct. Like it or not, we are the shit so to speak, so no, you can't compare our human rights struggles w/ animals and the PETA crazies who do are delusional. A human life will always be more valuable than that of an animal. And as this video said, the killing of the chicks is the industry standard, as opposed to the type of animal cruelty Michael Vick performed by terrorizing his dogs. There is a difference.

    Posted by: James | Sep 2, 2009 11:37:30 PM

  20. What shocks me is the number of informed people who seem to think the "circle of life" is a song from a Disney movie and not the ecological reality that in part includes animals killing and eating each other.

    There's a big difference between that an grinding a poor chick to death, or is that too much to understand? Turn this into a bunch of kittens and see what the comments might be.

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 3, 2009 1:56:06 AM

  21. The idiocy on this board never ceases to amaze me.

    Declanatl says "All major science and veterinary boards agree that this is the fastest and most humane way to euthanize."

    Right - you would really want to be ground to death? As I say, if this were kittens being ground to death the comments would be a lot different.

    Even more idiotic is Blurgle's comment "Veganism is immoral. We are naturally omnivores. Better every animal on Earth die in agony than one human die for any reason."

    If every (non human) animal died on earth, humans would be right behind them. And how can a choice of not eating any food possibly be "immoral." I missed that part where eating chicken was part of a "moral" existence. what garbage! Grind up puppies and see what people have to say.

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 3, 2009 2:04:37 AM

  22. Every time I read comments here I swear I'll never come back. James says "And humans are above all other animals, we are the only ones who have taken our thoughts to the next level and can communicate and express our emotions, who act with free will and not on instinct. Like it or not, we are the shit so to speak, so no, you can't compare our human rights struggles w/ animals and the PETA crazies who do are delusional."

    Hey James, nobody was comparing the two. Why don't you get down from your high horse, and put that "emotion" you're so proud of to work , and actually consider what it must feel like to be ground to death. I think the point of the video was to point out the cruelty of GRINDING a poor chick to death. If you want to turn everything into an "until there's a gay heaven on earth argument I don't want to hear about it" go ahead, but as a previous comment said, compassion is a bottomless ocean. After reading too many ugly, frankly evil blase comments here about GRINDING chicks to death, that's one good thing I can take away, because it is good to recognize again that compassion is truly bottomless if we chose to make it that way. Jacqueline - thank you for rescuing this disgusting thread.

    Posted by: Patrick | Sep 3, 2009 2:14:38 AM

  23. The idiocy on this board never ceases to amaze me."

    Indeed Patrick, indeed. Your specious arguments are just as idiotic as many of the others here. The reason people would be justified in being more outraged over kittens and puppies being ground up rather than day old chicks is because the former are higher mammals with far more capacity for cognition than a chicken, whose brain is literally the size of a pea.

    Posted by: Blake | Sep 3, 2009 3:43:53 AM

  24. PETA=Rip Van Winkle. Funny how there biggest spokesperson is a drug/drink using, silicone filled,peroxide and botox using (which are all naturally made and processed). Oh yeah, lets not forget her work with young girls to help create positive body images; while giving all those young males whom over the years have great masturbatory materials from her, and love those young girls.
    I eat chicken/meat, and I am well aware of what happens. God, because of this, I know they are all ahead of me in the line to heaven.

    Posted by: Alucious | Sep 3, 2009 6:28:36 AM

  25. These animals are FOOD, people. They don't have souls. They are here for our sustenance, nothing more. These idiots think everyone should go vegan...that's INSANE.

    Posted by: Lee Keels | Sep 2, 2009 11:25:13 AM

    There are so many humane ways of killing for food, and animals do have souls. (Since your dealing with souls which hits on spiritual and/or religious aspects) Check out what the bible says about humane ways of killing for food, welfare of animals weither it's domesticated or wild, as well as the book of Ecclesiates & Genesis talks about the soul/spirit of animals

    Posted by: TylerAnthony | Sep 3, 2009 9:35:41 AM

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