California Egg Farmers Face Felony Cruelty Charges for Leaving 50,000 Hens to Starve to Death


15 February 2013


Horrendous crimes like these are routine in factory farming, where animals, protestations aside, are not even seen as living beings worthy of the most elementary consideration. Each of us must look into his or he heart and ask: where is our compassion? How far are we gone into this ocean of cold indifference and self-inflicted ignorance that we fail to react at all to such massive suffering? —Eds.

Animal Place Sanctuary in Grass Valley did a huge rescue. They saved 4,100 hens from starvation. They found good homes for most of the hens and kept those who could not be adopted in their Vacaville sanctuary.

Today I (Karen Davis) spoke with Animal Place’s Executive Director Kim Sturla about the felony charges. Kim is elated. She said: “That chicken farmers in an agricultural region like Central California, where Turlock is located, would be charged with felony cruelty to chickens is amazing, unheard of! Prosecutors saw that people cared deeply about these birds and wanted their owners to be held accountable!”

Animal Place is making a documentary film about their excruciating rescue and rehabilitation of the Turlock hens.

Last February, UPC posted an alert about Animal Place’s emergency response as their rescuers struggled to hurriedly pull thousands of starving, terrified hens out of the filthy cages, truck them to Vacaville, and provide them with the immediate food, water, straw, medicine, and compassionate care the hens desperately needed.

In “The Turlock rescue – a year later” in the Spring 2013 Animal Place Magazine, Kim explains that the rescue “took its toll both emotionally and financially for Animal Place. . . . And for many of our staff and volunteers, it was incredibly difficult watching hens who were too far gone die and knowing that so many more suffer on egg farms across the globe.”

Kim Sturla is a speaker and Animal Place ( is a cosponsor of our Conscious Eating Conference in Berkeley, CA on Saturday, April 6. We hope you will be there to meet Kim and hear her deeply moving story about saving the Turlock hens and what sanctuaries are learning and teaching people about the emotional world of chickens and other farmed animals. To learn more about the conference, click on

*Claims that carbon dioxide gassing produces a humane death conflict with evidence showing that CO2 induces severe breathing distress in birds and mammals along with panic and pain. A poultry worker told UPC in 2011 that the CO2 gassing of “spent” hens in metal boxes and the beating to death of birds who survived the gas, which he observed take place at a “cage-free” egg farm in Virginia, in December 2009, was “the worst cruelty I ever saw.”

Follow UPC!


Turlock farmers charged after hens starve

 (San Francisco Chronicle)