In June 2014, CNN aired a shocking undercover investigation of a North Carolina chicken factory farm called Prince Poultry that supplied to international corporate giant Pilgrim’s Corp. The video, shot by an undercover investigator with national animal protection group Compassion Over Killing, revealed horrifying abuses of hundreds of thousands of birds.
Most outrageously, unwanted birds at Prince Poultry were often buried alive—dumped into mass outdoor graves by the hundreds, and left to slowly die from the elements. The workers caught burying animals alive have not been charged with any crime despite evidence of this cruelty, but as a North Carolina resident I find this appalling and want to see legal action taken.
One callous worker laughingly described the mass grave as a “gravy that’s simmering and squirming,” and on a separate occasion admitted that Prince Poultry workers don’t properly euthanize unwanted birds before dumping them alive. In addition, live birds were thrown around, crammed into buckets with dead and decaying birds, and left to suffer from painful leg deformities and skin conditions.
Despite that even poultry giant Pilgrim’s has acknowledged the severe abuse and promptly severed its relationship with Prince Poultry, inexplicably, Harnett County District Attorney Vernon Stewart has opted not to press any criminal charges. According to Compassion Over Killing, DA Vernon Stewart’s office has not responded to their request for more information about this baffling decision. With such damning and conclusive video evidence, how could Mr. Stewart possibly conclude that there was no criminal animal cruelty at Prince Poultry?
The North Carolina animal cruelty law (N.C.G.S. § 14-360 et seq.) states that a person who intentionally wounds, injures, or torments an animal, or deprives an animal of necessary sustenance, is guilty of animal cruelty. At a minimum, Compassion Over Killing’s undercover video clearly shows these things.
Urge Harnett County District Attorney to enforce the law he’s elected and sworn to uphold! Let’s be clear—the North Carolina citizens to whom he is accountable firmly believe that intentionally burying animals alive is cruel and criminal, and should be punished by law! Moreover, we know North Carolina produces food for much of the nation, and consumers across the country and around the world will look at this shameful cruelty and question our agricultural practices.