Dear EA Forum readers,

The EA charity, Legal Impact for Chickens (LIC), just filed our second lawsuit!

As many of you know, LIC is a litigation nonprofit dedicated to making factory-farm cruelty a liability.  We focus on chickens because of the huge numbers in which they suffer and the extreme severity of that suffering.  

Today, we sued one of the country’s largest poultry producers and a KFC supplier, Case Farms, for animal cruelty.  

The complaint comes on the heels of a 2021 undercover investigation by Animal Outlook, revealing abuse at a Morganton, N.C. Case Farms hatchery that processes more than 200,000 chicks daily.  

Our lawsuit attacks the notion that Big Ag is above the law.  We are suing under North Carolina's 19A statute, which lets private parties enjoin animal cruelty. 

Case Farms was documented knowingly operating faulty equipment, including a machine piston which repeatedly smashes chicks to death and a dangerous metal conveyor belt which traps and kills young birds.  Case Farms was also documented crushing chicks’ necks between heavy plastic trays. 

Case Farms supplies its chicken to KFC, Taco Bell, and Boar’s Head, among other customers.

Thank you so much to all the EA Forum readers who helped make this happen, by donating to, and volunteering for, Legal Impact for Chickens!

Sincerely,

Alene

Comments13
Sorted by Click to highlight new comments since: Today at 2:38 AM

Thank you for the work you're doing!

How's the first lawsuit going?

Thank you so much, Guy!!  Sadly, the judge dismissed the Costco lawsuit.  :-(  

I'm really sad to hear that! Is the court's decision available somewhere?

Yeah it stinks.  The judge just ruled from the bench—He didn't author a written opinion.

Oh no! I think it would be good to write a short postmortem about what LIC learned from this experience. For example, do you think derivative suits are simply not the right vehicle for this kind of action, or is there still potential there?

Don't work for LIC, but I'd note that litigation strategy is one area in which the justification for non-transparency can be particularly strong. E.g., if LIC decided derivative suits were the wrong vehicle, I'm not sure I'd want them to publicize that and free any potential target companies from the fear that they could be next.

Thank you for your support Eli!  I think derivative suits definitely are still a strong vehicle to protect animals.  Neither the court nor the defendants said anything that would cause us to become less bullish on derivative suits.  And the court agreed that the board members had knowledge of Costco's treatment of animals, which was one of the things we were trying to prove in order to show why this is the board's responsibility and thus why a derivative suit is appropriate.  Unfortunately, however, the court didn't agree that we had shown a violation of the criminal law against animal neglect.  (Of course, we still think that we did show illegal animal neglect.  So I think this was a failure on my part to properly convey why the evidence constituted neglect.)

The court left open one avenue, which was to send a formal demand letter to Costco's board, asking the board to change its treatment of chickens and sue Costco's executives.  So we did that:  https://www.legalimpactforchickens.org/costco-demand.   And we are waiting for a response.

I agree we need to somehow update our website.  I just haven't gotten around to figuring out the best way to present this information. . . . But you bringing it up is a helpful nudge!

Thank you Alene! Happy to chat offline if it's ever helpful to you or LIC.

Whoa, this is huge! Major props to you and the LIC team for stepping up and taking the fight directly to the big guys like Case Farms. It's really inspiring to see you using the legal system as a tool to protect animals. I'm on eager to see how this case unfolds!

I've just watched the undercover video from the Animal Outlook investigation that your case will be based on, and it's a stark reminder of the harsh realities we're fighting against. I think we sometimes lose sight of the actual suffering behind the numbers and strategies we discuss on the EA Forum. So, I strongly recommend everyone here to take a few minutes to watch this video to remind ourselves of what suffering looks like on the ground.

For those who can't or choose not to watch it, here's a brief description of what it reveals:
 

Newly-hatched chicks killed, mangled, maimed or trapped in equipment or machinery that was improperly operated or set up. 

  • Some chicks were not mangled by machines but were deformed, hatched improperly, hatched early and died, etc.
  • Chicks being roughly handled, thrown, having plastic trays dragged across them and crushing their throats, and driven over with machinery.
  • Injured or deformed chicks in trays with dead ones left to languish for hours. 
  • Gassing sick or injured birds before dumping them into a macerator to be sliced and rendered; in some instances, dumping fully conscious chicks into the macerator to be ground alive.

Alene, your work is reminding us of the urgency and significance of this cause. Please continue to keep us posted on your progress and victories.

Keep fighting the good fight!

Thank you so much Constance!

Thank you for doing it! All the best with it.

Our lawsuit attacks the notion that Big Ag is above the law.

And I want to mention that I particularly like this.

Thank you Fai!!!!