Live Ducklings Ground Up, Mother Ducks ‘Gang Raped’ in Crowded Sheds at Culver Duck Farms
Update: March 15, 2022
After hearing from PETA, Southeastern Grocers (the parent company of Winn-Dixie) ended purchases from Culver Duck Farms. This commendable decision follows recent confirmation from Albertsons Companies Inc., the second-largest supermarket chain in North America, that it has suspended sourcing from Culver. Given the birds’ misery and suffering documented by the whistleblower and as this is the second time Culver has been exposed, we look forward to hearing that Albertsons’ move to avoid sourcing from it is permanent.
Originally posted on February 16, 2022:
A disturbing whistleblower report reveals ongoing suffering at Culver Duck Farms, a so-called “humane” company. The whistleblower’s video and photographs show injured and dying ducks, others who were suffocated and buried alive, and dozens of live ducklings who were ground up while fully conscious.
Culver slaughters approximately 6.5 million ducks annually, approximately 25% of all ducks killed in the U.S. industry, and supplies grocers and food distributors around the country. Here’s a look at what anyone buying duck meat or down-filled products could be supporting.
The whistleblower reported that Culver crowds so many males together with females in stressful living conditions that the females are “gang raped” and their bodies are left bloody, swollen, and injured, often on wet bedding. Forcing male and female ducks to coexist is deplorable, as duck mating—especially in crowded, dank sheds—is extremely violent. Male ducks hold the female duck down with their entire weight on her back, and they keep her in place by clamping down with their claws and gripping the back of her neck with their bills.
Responsible guardians who have adopted ducks—who have the commitment, time, money, compassion, and patience necessary to provide them with life-long care—take precautions like separating males and females to avoid such violence. But speciesist companies like Culver don’t bother with this—the birds’ right to be left in peace is ignored in favor of higher profits.
Ducks are outgoing, social beings who—like all animals—deserve compassion. Did you know that ducks have been observed enthusiastically meeting their guardians’ children at the bus stop after school? Or that, in nature, companion ducks sleep together at night? The talkative birds even reportedly have regional accents, just as humans do. And duck moms are caring and loving: They line their nests with some of their own feathers to make it cozy, and when the time comes, they lead their ducklings to a safe place to swim and eat, sometimes more than a half-mile away from the nest.
Culver contracts with factory farms to raise thousands of ducks in its dank sheds. At one of the duck factories, the whistleblower reported finding that feed poured out of a pipe, suffocating some ducks and burying one, who was rescued by the whistleblower.
According to the whistleblower, Culver grinds up dozens of ducklings every day in its hatchery. Ducklings deemed unprofitable are reportedly thrown into a grinder while they are still chirping.
The whistleblower reported seeing a video feed from Culver’s slaughterhouse showing that ducks appeared to be conscious as workers cut their throats. Federal law doesn’t require that birds be stunned before they are killed, and some slaughterhouses’ “stun baths” only paralyze birds, rather than rendering them unconscious.
Culver boasts that it is the only duck company to be “American Humane Certified.” The treatment of these animals clearly falls well short of a reasonable consumer’s expectations for “humane” treatment, proving once again that there is no such thing as “humane meat.” And if this is what is considered humane in the duck industry, what must conditions be like on other duck farms?
Suffering in Culver Sheds Has Been Exposed Before
A 2016 PETA investigation revealed workers subjecting these gentle ducks to a slow, agonizing death by repeatedly slamming them against the wall and other hard surfaces, wringing their necks by spinning them around by the head, and even ripping a duckling’s head off. Other ducks were kicked and violently thrown around. Many of them had raw skin and were missing feathers because of filthy bedding and ammonia fumes. Hundreds of birds were found dead, some with prolapsed oviducts or intestines.
After seeing our investigation and hearing from supporters like you, Harris Teeter dropped Culver as a supplier. Will other grocers and food distributors follow suit in light of this new evidence?
Don’t be misled by marketing claims that animals are “humanely raised.” Only you can stop this suffering—by not paying for it. Avoid all animal-derived foods, even so-called “humane,” “organic,” and “free-range” meat, eggs, and milk.
As long as companies continue to sell these ducks’ flesh, the ducks will continue to suffer. Please ask the companies that Culver identifies as its customers to reconsider their relationship with the company.
If you think you have what it takes to carry out undercover investigations and expose suffering like this, we want to hear from you. Click here to share your gratitude with the whistleblower who exposed this cruelty.