15 Million Baby Chicks Dumped in Mass Grave and Buried Alive

This month, videos of 15 million day-old chicks being dumped in a mass grave and buried alive went viral on Iranian media. Iranians were outraged at what they saw, many blaming the government’s lack of oversight.

Iran’s poultry industry generally produces around 2 billion chickens each year. However, inability to adapt to the pandemic, restaurant closures, and a decrease in export demand have created a backlog of animals with nowhere to go.

Now the industry is threatening to slaughter millions of adult chickens as well unless the government offers financial help.

The same thing is happening in the United States. More than 20 slaughterhouses nationwide have shut down—some of which have reopened—as their unsafe working conditions and failure to implement CDC-recommended safety protocols have likely caused hundreds of employees to contract the coronavirus.

This, along with restaurant closures and a slowed export market, has led to a surplus of animals. Professor Peter Sandøe from the University of Copenhagen’s Department of Food and Resource Economics stated:
The main cause of the supply chain problems in the U.S. seems to be Covid-19 and the number of sick workers at slaughterhouses.
In spite of the dangers to workers, President Trump signed an executive order requiring slaughterhouses to stay open. To make matters worse, this could also protect meatpacking companies from liability for worker safety claims.

Slaughterhouses are hotbeds for COVID-19, regardless of the president’s executive order. So worker shortages will continue. This means animals will continue to be killed en masse on farms.

So far, at least 2 million animals have been cruelly killed en masse in the United States. Approved methods for such killing, outlined by the American Veterinary Medical Association, include shutting off barn ventilation and covering chickens with foam so they suffocate.

COVID-19 has shown just how fragile our industrial food system is. But, just like the Iranian poultry industry, the U.S. meat industry is asking for taxpayer dollars to help it stay afloat.

Join us in demanding that taxpayer money be used for long-term systemic solutions, like helping farmers transition to plant-based farming—not helping an industry that kills and throws away millions of animals on farms.