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A PETA Undercover Investigation

Walmart Egg Supplier Exposed: Hens Left for Dead, Crudely Gassed, and Cruelly Killed

A PETA undercover investigation into a typical American egg farm in Licking County, Ohio, that supplies eggs to Walmart (which sells them under its “Great Value” brand) reveals that hundreds of hens died after becoming trapped by a leg, a wing, or their head in the wire mesh flooring of their filthy cages and left unable to move, eat, or drink. Many were likely trampled by their crowded cagemates, who had nowhere else to stand. This farm keeps up to 2.4 million hens in 16 massive sheds.

PETA has notified Walmart and others of the systemic suffering of hundreds of thousands of chickens still alive on this farm. But these hens desperately need all the help they can get right now—especially your voice.

Please help us bring relief to these gentle, suffering hens today and ensure that fewer of them have to face this painful, terrifying fate tomorrow.

The Living Caged With Corpses and Eggs Bound for Walmart

PETA’s visit to the farm—which is operated by Trillium Farm Holdings, LLC (“Trillium”)—followed two whistleblower tips, including one from a former supervisor who stated that hens were left to decompose in severely crowded cages.

As the whistleblower reported, many dead hens had begun to decay, and the survivors were caged along with them for days on end.

This exposed the surviving hens to disease and put them at risk of infection as their eggs rolled around in the disgusting cages, ultimately headed for the store shelves at Walmart.

Trillium is part of the third-largest U.S. egg producer, Versova Holdings, LLC.

Injured, in Agony, Then Slowly Decapitated and Killed

A supervisor and workers denied sick and injured hens the care they needed—including a quick, painless end to their obvious suffering.

A farm supervisor tried but failed to kill one hen, and she was later found alive in a trash bin, severely injured. PETA’s investigator immediately notified the supervisor, but she left the hen to languish. Two days later, the investigator found that the hen was still languishing, so a worker tried to break her neck.

Another hen was stuck between a feed trough and a conveyor belt. The investigator extricated her and tried to comfort her. A worker then attempted to kill her by twisting and pulling on her head over and over again before finally just dropping her on the floor while she was still alive.

Workers killed many more chickens in this terrifying, agonizing way—which is neither instantaneous nor painless. One worker even ripped a live hen’s head off.

Trapped and Stressed in Crowded Cages

Most hens spend every day and every night—for up to two years—in dark sheds like this, crammed into row after row of cages, barely able to move, trapped 24/7. They live in constant fear.

They have no place to stand, sit, or lie down except on the wire flooring of their cages, which digs into their feet. Each hen has less living space than a sheet of paper.

Unable even to spread their wings or form a pecking order in such severely crowded and stressful conditions, many hens resort to pulling out their own feathers. To remove the loose feathers, one worker turned a deafeningly loud leaf blower on the trapped hens, panicking those who couldn’t escape.

Chickens are clean, fastidious birds who need to preen and take regular dust baths. But on farms like this one, they’re forced to live in filth, with no freedom to express their natural behavior and often deprived of the most basic necessities of life.

Chickens Are Killed in Violent and Painful Ways to Supply Store-Bought Eggs

Billions of hens are exploited for their eggs in warehouses like this one. “Layer” hens are selectively bred to produce as many eggs as possible. After up to two years of exploitation, they’re “spent,” and their egg production declines.

Over several days in late June, workers killed more than 100,000 “spent” hens.

They were yanked out of their cages, slammed against metal boxes and then stuffed into the boxes. Much of hens’ calcium is devoted to forming shells around the eggs they lay—leaving their bones brittle and prone to breaking when roughly grabbed and handled.

Those who didn’t suffocate under hens piled on top of them were killed by being gassed with carbon dioxide, which is acidic and can cause extreme pain. Chickens cried out inside the metal boxes and could be heard banging against the walls.

Then—without verifying that they were dead—workers dumped the hens onto a conveyor belt that hauled them off. Some may have even regained consciousness later and died a prolonged and terrifying death.

All this happened at a company at which newly hired employees were shown undercover video of chickens being abused—next to PETA’s logo—and told not to handle birds in any way they wouldn’t want to be recorded and shared. Will this video be in their next training session?

In December 2019, Trillium killed 260,000 hens. A distressed whistleblower reported to PETA that the hens were roasted alive—by closing off the ventilation in the sheds and using large heaters to raise the temperature to at least 104 degrees. According to state records, the company then dumped their bodies into a manure pit. After a few days, the dead, manure-coated hens were to be piled onto a concrete slab that was designed to allow fluids to pass through or off it—only 50 feet from a waterway.

Fires killed tens of thousands of hens in November 2018 and April 2020.

In 2013–2014, the company paid approximately $6 million to a labor contractor, whose owner pleaded guilty to federal charges related to smuggling workers from Guatemala as young as 14 or 15 years old and ordering them to cut or burn off chickens’ sensitive beaks at the farms.

The history of hens suffering in this and nearby farms stretches back decades, when many of these farms were operated by the notorious Buckeye Egg Farm, led by a man who was jailed for poisoning millions of hens at his farms in Germany. It includes reports of life-threatening worker safety hazards, polluted rivers full of dead fish, fertilizer in creeks, the stench of manure, overwhelming numbers of flies, repacking eggs that had not sold, and a salmonella outbreak after live hens were found in manure pits.

Hens Need You to Help Stop This!

The best thing that you can do for hens is to refuse to buy their eggs and flesh. With so many delicious, healthy vegan options, it’s never been easier to leave animal-derived foods off your plate.

If you think you have what it takes to carry out undercover investigations like this one, we want to hear from youShare your gratitude with the investigator who revealed this cruelty.

Please also urge Walmart to reconsider its relationship with Trillium immediately. Ask America’s largest grocer why it puts its brand name on and sells eggs from these abused, miserable hens. Demand that Walmart take immediate and decisive action to spare these animals even one more day of squalor and agony just to prop up the billion-dollar company’s bottom line.

Walmart Egg Supplier Exposed: Hens Left for Dead, Crudely Gassed, and Cruelly Killed

Please urge Walmart to reconsider its relationship with Trillium immediately.
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