Yesterday, Gabriel Cevallos, a Foster Farms employee, was convicted for criminal animal abuse after being caught on hidden camera ripping out fistfuls of feathers from live birds, repeatedly hitting a bird with a severed chicken leg, and tossing live birds around like basketballs. Cevallos pled no contest to one count of criminal animal cruelty. His conviction stems from a 2015 Mercy For Animals undercover investigation at a Foster Farms chicken slaughterhouse in Fresno, California, which revealed birds scalded alive and several Foster Farms employees punching, throwing, and slamming birds.
Cevallos was sentenced by the Fresno County Superior Court to three years of probation and a fine of $600, and is required to attend 12 sessions of mental health counseling.
Here is the footage that led to the conviction:
Although animal abuse is pervasive in Foster Farms’ poultry supply chain, American Humane Association has certified Foster Farms—one of the largest poultry producers in the country—as “humane. AHA’s standards, which cover more than 1 billion animals, are far less stringent than those of virtually every other humane certification program. In fact, AHA standards barely exceed the minimal standards set by the factory farming industry itself. In other words, these standards are essentially meaningless.
MFA is calling on Foster Farms and AHA to stop misleading the public and implement meaningful animal welfare requirements, including replacing live-shackle slaughter methods with less cruel systems that eliminate the appalling suffering caused by dumping, shackling, shocking, and slitting the throats of conscious animals. Additionally, birds should be provided with more space, clean litter, access to adequate light, and environmental enrichments. Video monitoring systems that live stream to the internet should also be installed to deter future violence against animals.
Last week, Perdue Foods, one of the nation’s largest poultry producers, announced a precedent-setting animal welfare policy. MFA is calling on AHA and Foster Farms to stop paying lip service to animal welfare and do the same.
Convictions send an important message that animal cruelty will not be tolerated. The best way to protect animals, however, is not to eat them. Visit ChooseVeg.com to get started with some tips and recipes.