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Secret Footage Exposes Tyson's Shocking Cruelty to Chickens

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The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) released secret video footage today taken by an undercover reporter inside a Tyson Foods slaughterhouse in Texas. According to ALDF, the footage reveals an exploitative system for both workers and animals.

“The overall attitude towards the chickens at the Tyson plant is that they were thought of as objects and not living and feeling beings,” said the anonymous ALDF investigator. “They were nothing more than a commodity. It didn’t seem to matter to anyone if the chickens were hurt or killed in the pre-slaughter process. It was just part of ‘business.’”

Watch the undercover footage here:

The abuse of workers and animals in factory farms is well documented. Undercover footage from Mercy for Animals in July revealed equally appalling conditions at another Tyson's facility. And a similar undercover investigation into Costco's egg suppliers from The Humane Society earlier this summer sparked Ryan Gosling, Brad Pitt and Bill Maher to call on the retail giant to make changes.

“Our investigation proves that the cruel treatment of chickens by Tyson Foods are not isolated incidents, but a systematic, companywide problem,” says Stephen Wells, Animal Legal Defense Fund executive director. “Tyson Foods is putting profits over not only ethical standards, but state and federal laws.”

ALDF is asking the attorney general of the state of Delaware, where Tyson Foods is incorporated, to "investigate and sanction the company." ALDF has also filed three complaints against Tyson Foods with three different government agencies—the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

With the USDA filing, ALDF is "asking the agency to enforce basic food safety regulations outlined in the Poultry Products Inspection Act." Its complaint with OSHA cites "unsafe working conditions for employees, including repetitive motion stress injuries and the high risk of being maimed and/or injured by the rapidly moving conveyor belts."

ALDF believes "Tyson’s expectations of line speeds—140 chickens per minute—and number of birds processed per day up to 250,000—are unrealistic to physically meet, leading workers to putting quotas ahead of animal welfare, food safety regulations, and their own personal safety."

Lastly, the national nonprofit's complaint with SEC accuses Tyson of "overstating the priority it puts on animal welfare in corporate and investor materials." ALDF says that "Tyson Foods is well aware of the working conditions in its plants, as well as of blatant violations of welfare regulations covering poultry processing."

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"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

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The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.