Hundreds of Thousands of Americans Demand Action from USDA on Poultry Slaughter

Hundreds of Thousands of Americans Demand Action from USDA on Poultry Slaughter

Philadelphia lawyer submits more than 235,000 signatures in support of basic humane standards for “the most abused animals on the face of the planet”

PHILADELPHIA – Today, a Philadelphia animal protection advocate submitted to the Secretary of Agriculture more than 235,000 signatures from concerned U.S. citizens in support of a 30-page USDA regulatory petition to stop cruelty to poultry.

Heather Veleanu, a lawyer who has spent the majority of her career working on legislative efforts to better protect animals, started her petition last month, hoping to gather a few hundred signatures in support of a 30-page regulatory petition that was put together by the Lewis and Clark Law School animal legal clinic, with animal protection groups the Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary.

Instead, her poultry compassion petition has netted more than 235,000 signatures.

In her letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack, Veleanu writes:

Chickens are probably the most abused animals on the face of the planet, and thus far, USDA regulations have done little to protect them from abuse, despite the fact that they represent more than 98 percent of slaughtered land animals.

The rulemaking petition filed by the Animal Welfare Institute and Farm Sanctuary asks that USDA promulgate regulations that would protect poultry from some of the egregious abuse that they suffer in slaughterhouses.

For example, right now almost one million chickens and turkeys are boiled alive each year. Still others arrive at slaughterhouses with severe injuries, like broken wings, and instead of being humanely euthanized, these suffering animals are roughly handled, snapped into shackles, and electrocuted.

There is also extensive evidence to indicate that all poultry are still conscious when their throats are slit, because the stun bath is not at a level that renders them insensitive to pain. I know that your agency personnel in charge of poultry slaughter are aware of these studies, which makes the AWI/FS petition all the more immediate.

To learn more about Farm Sanctuary, visit

Farm Sanctuary operates three shelters in New York and California that provide lifelong care for nearly 1,000 rescued farm animals, works to change laws to decrease abuse of farm animals, and promotes compassionate vegan living.