A class-action lawsuit filed by distributor Maplevale Farms reveals that major chicken producers—including giants Tyson, Perdue, and Koch Foods, amongst others—engaged in conspiring for eight years to illegally dispose of entire flocks of broiler chickens in order to inflate market prices by 50 percent. The lawsuit states that “since 2008, defendants cut their ability to ramp up production for 18 months or more by destroying broiler breeder hens in their broiler breeder flocks responsible for supplying the eggs defendants raise into broilers. This destruction of the broiler breeder flock was unparalleled, and the consequences continue to reverberate in the broiler industry to present day.” Sadly, the illegal practice is not limited to this one incident. In 2010, the Humane Society of the United asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a federal criminal investigation against the United Egg Producers regarding an animal-welfare program launched by the egg industry as a cover-up scheme to drive up egg prices. The UEP settled this suit for more than $8 million. A similar case initiated by animal-rights group Compassion Over Killing—in which the dairy industry colluded to slaughter 500,000 cows to inflate milk prices—was just settled for $53 million. “These cases clearly demonstrate how the industry, and the law, see these animals as mere commodities,” Mariann Sullivan, who teaches Animal Law at Columbia University and hosts the Animal Law Podcast, told VegNews. “We cannot advance morally as a species until we end the pretense that these vulnerable, intelligent beings are nothing more than a food product.”
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