Last month, Mercy For Animals released hidden-camera footage of a contract farm that raises chickens for an ALDI supplier. The devastating footage exposes chickens living in filthy conditions, days-old chicks suffering from open wounds, and more. Mercy For Animals amplified the video’s impact with three days of protests in Illinois—the home of ALDI’s U.S. headquarters.
The heartbreaking footage reveals tens of thousands of chickens packed inside filthy, overcrowded sheds and forced to live for weeks in their own waste. The investigator documented countless birds, including chicks just days old, suffering from severe open wounds, other serious injuries, and illnesses. Some sat on splayed or swollen legs, while others endured twisted necks and beaks. Some birds even had burns, organs bulging out, or missing eyes.
Many of these afflictions result from the way chickens raised for meat are bred. These birds are routinely bred to grow incredibly large over a short period, which puts their bodies under tremendous stress. Some become immobile and die of dehydration when they can’t walk to water. Others suffer painful deaths from organ failure.
Mercy For Animals is calling on ALDI to adopt meaningful animal welfare standards to prevent the horrific suffering caused by rapid growth and filthy, overcrowded conditions.
We kicked off our demonstrations by going live on Instagram outside ALDI’s headquarters in Batavia, Illinois. Standing with signs, inflatable chickens, and Abby—a special-effects costume that represents the billions of chickens suffering at factory farms—we let ALDI executives know Mercy For Animals was in town. Our signs displayed images taken from the investigation, while Campaign Specialist Makayla Rosas described some of the atrocities the investigator found.
The next day, we held a demonstration at an ALDI location in Old Town, Chicago, where we showed footage of our investigation to passersby. We also went inside the ALDI store to hand deliver our message to an employee, asking them to urge ALDI executives to adopt meaningful chicken welfare standards.
Later that day, Campaign Specialist Natalie Warhit went live from Chicago’s famed Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Cubs fans entering the stadium were met with giant inflatable chickens and signs calling on ALDI to adopt a meaningful welfare policy to alleviate some of the worst suffering in its chicken supply chain. This prime location enabled us to share our message with an expansive group of people.
We went live a third time in front of an ALDI store in downtown Chicago, where we were joined by passionate volunteers. Lilia Mannes, our regional organizer for the Midwest, interviewed Paul, a volunteer who was inspired to take action because he believes the conditions in chicken factories are so bad, it’s “ridiculous.”
Throughout our time in Illinois, we engaged with hundreds of people outside busy ALDI locations. We handed out flyers and custom ALDIUncovered branded tote bags, talked to customers, and informed the public of the cruelty ALDI tolerates in its chicken supply chain.
While we work to create a world where animals are no longer used for food, we must help those destined to suffer in our food system. Please join us in demanding that ALDI do better for chickens. Take action by visiting ALDIUncovered.com. If systemic cruelty motivates you to organize for animals in your community, RSVP to our next volunteer orientation on Wednesday, July 13.