Mass killing of 2 million chickens at US farm after bird flu outbreak

Mass killing of 2 million chickens at US farm after bird flu outbreak

Cal-Maine Foods, the largest egg producer in the United States, is set to kill 2 million chickens at one of its Texas facilities after detecting bird flu.

The company announced plans to kill approximately 1.6 million adult hens and 337,000 young female chickens after confirming the presence of the highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus.

The facility has nearly 54 million chickens, which are kept to produce eggs for human consumption.

This bird flu outbreak is part of an increasing number of HPAI cases nationwide, with recent reports of the virus spreading to cows. A dairy worker in Texas contracted the virus. Agricultural and health officials are closely monitoring the outbreak. 

The situation at Cal-Maine’s chicken facility shows vulnerabilities in US food production systems and the challenges of controlling animal diseases in agriculture. The dense housing of animals in such environments complicates efforts to prevent viral transmission.

Killing chickens after bird flu

Currently, the primary response to bird flu detection in farms is to kill all animals around the affected animal. After they’re killed, the animals are either burnt or buried.

Cal-Maine has not disclosed the method it will use to kill the chickens.

In 2022, the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) revealed footage showing the mass culling of chickens at Rembrandt Enterprises in Iowa following a bird flu outbreak. 

Over 5 million chickens were killed in two days using ventilation shutdown plus (VSD+). The animals are suffocated by sealing the ventilation in their enclosures.

Footage showed some chickens surviving the suffocation, left in cages, severely distressed and suffering. These survivors were neither euthanized humanely nor provided care, eventually dying from starvation or being buried alive.

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