March 23, 2018

HSUS Exposes Animal Abuse at Plant in Butterfield, Minnesota

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is exposing animal abuse at a “spent” egg-laying hen slaughter plant in Butterfield, Minnesota. The undercover investigation was conducted at Butterfield Foods. Video showed hens scalded alive, forced upside down into tanks of hot water, where they drown.

ChickenHens are not covered under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, even though chickens and turkeys make up 90% of the animals killed for food in the U.S. The spent hens are egg-laying birds that are no longer profitable as egg producers. They are used for cheap meat, often so unsafe that these battery cage facilities can’t sell it for human consumption.

In addition to the scalding alive, the hens arrived at the plants packed in so tightly they could barely move. Many birds had broken bones, others were dead, and many so covered in feces they looked black. The hens were then removed from their cages by workers jabbing metal hooks into them, and were shackled upside down while fully conscious.

The birds were often ineffectively stunned and inhumanely killed. They were supposed to be “stunned” by moving the line of shackled birds through a trough of electrified water, but many hens were still conscious after this “treatment”. They were sent to the neck cutter fully aware. Sick and injured birds were thrown against the wall or thrown in the garbage. In addition to this cruelty at the slaughter plant, HSUS says that some major egg producers in Minnesota don’t meet the voluntary space allotment standard for egg-laying hens, which causes extreme suffering.

Paul Shapiro, HSUS vice president of farm animal protection said in a statement, “Egg-laying hens suffer tremendously, locked in cramped cages their whole lives only to then be inhumanely slaughtered. Consumers can help reduce the suffering of animals in factory farms by eating less chicken, and the U.S.D.A. can help poultry by requiring slaughter plants to switch to higher-welfare systems such as controlled atmosphere killing.”

HSUS’s investigation is the first undercover investigation of a spent hen slaughter plant in the country. The agency says that possible illegal activity has been reported to authorities.


  1. Why waste time reforming injustice? Just be vegan and opt out of the participation in the unnecessary suffering and death of sentient beings.

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