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Indybay Feature
Tue Mar 27 2007 (Updated 06/08/07)
Historic Egg Farm Cruelty Case Ends in Acquittal
Tue Mar 27 2007 (Updated 06/08/07)
First Animal Cruelty Charges Ever to Be Brought Against a Factory Farm
Update 6/1: Lancaster County judge acquitted a Pennsylvania egg factory farm owner and manager of animal cruelty charges. Compassion Over Killing said that the acquittal "Demonstrates that the Foxes Are Guarding the Factory Farm Henhouse." Read More

3/27: The conditions on modern factory farms have gained national attention with the prosecution of one of the nation's top egg producers on animal cruelty charges. Stemming from an undercover investigation by a worker affiliated with Compassion Over Killing (COK), the manager and owner of Esbenshade Farms have each been charged with 35 counts of animal cruelty. For each count, the two men face up to 90 days in jail for the treatment of hens on their Pennsylvania farm.

After obtaining a job maintaining a hen house, undercover investigator John Brothers worked from November 30th to December 9th, 2005 documenting conditions inside Esbenshade Farms. In graphic detail, the footage taken at the Mount Joy, Penn. farm shows thousands of birds in overcrowded; hens with wings, legs, or feet entangled in wire cages; birds left in the aisles to starve to death; chickens impaled cage wires, and living hens confined amongst the decomposing bodies of dead ones. COK presented the disturbing footage to a local humane officer who initiated the criminal prosecution, triggering this landmark legal case. This case is expected to be decided in mid-April. A courtroom victory could lead to more against other factory farms. In Defense of Animals (IDA) writes: "This is a rare chance for the story of animal agriculture's most abused captives to finally be told in a courtroom, bringing legal accountability to factory farmers and justice to their victims."

Read More | COK's Overview of Case · Investigator’s Log Notes

Past Indybay Coverage Regarding Undercover Investigations: "Wegmans Cruelty" Filmmaker Sentenced to Six Months for Trespassing | Egg Industry Battery Cages Exposed by Activists | Central Valley Investigations Reveal Animal Cruelty
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