An undercover investigation released this week found that the rotisserie chickens sold at Costco for $4.99 come with a hidden cost of animal cruelty. Animal-rights group Mercy For Animals (MFA) investigated Costco’s Nebraska poultry farm that supplies Lincoln Premium Poultry, a company that Costco set up and controls to supply itself with many of the 100 million rotisserie chickens it sells each year. 

During the investigation, MFA found chickens bred to grow so large so fast they cannot support their weight and often die from organ failure; hundreds of thousands of birds crammed in filthy sheds, living for weeks in their own waste; injured and ill chicks, some with internal organs exposed and others unable to walk; birds suffering from open wounds, ammonia burns, broken bones, and twisted necks and beaks; and massive piles of dead animals on facility grounds outside the barns housing live chickens.

Costco fails its commitment to animal welfare

The findings of the investigation stand in stark contrast to Costco’s claim that “animal welfare is a critical component that has been integrated into all aspects of the chicken supply chain, from the hatchery to the grower barns to the processing facility.”

“Costco members deserve to know the truth about where their chickens come from and how Costco is failing to live up to the animal welfare standards members expect and the company claims to support,” MFA President Leah Garcés said. “While we cannot change the outcome for the chickens suffering in this shameful footage, Costco has control over millions of animals’ lives and can take immediate action by adopting the Better Chicken Commitment, a set of higher welfare standards that would ban the cruel practices uncovered by this investigation.”

MFA has launched a petition to demand that Costco adopt the Better Chicken Commitment—which others, such as Whole Foods Market, Popeyes, Burger King, and Subway have previously adopted—in an effort to end the cruelty exposed by its investigation.

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