Del. Ag. Sec. Calls Alleged Chicken Abuse Video a "Hatchet Job" - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Del. Ag. Sec. Calls Alleged Chicken Abuse Video a "Hatchet Job"

Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee (Photo: WBOC) Delaware Secretary of Agriculture Ed Kee (Photo: WBOC)

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - Delaware's Secretary of Agriculture has strong words over a video released last week alleging animal abuse at a chicken farm in Sussex County that contracts for Tyson Foods.

California-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals released the video last week. Its unsettling images allegedly show the abuse of chickens at McGinnis Farms in Dagsboro.

The farm hasn't been willing to comment on the video. But Delaware Agriculture Sec. Ed Kee did comment exclusively to WBOC.

"We think that video that was released last week does not reflect any truth whatsoever of poultry production. That particular farm is wonderful people. They're great stewards," he said. "The way we raise poultry on Delmarva - it is humane. Many animal organizations recognize it as humane. So, frankly we just think this was a hatchet job."

Matt Rice, with Mercy for Animals, took significant exception to Kee's statement.

"It's a shame that the agency tasked with monitoring agriculture in Delaware seems more interested in protecting corporate profits than animal welfare," Rice said in an email. "Video footage doesn't lie or take sides."

Rice went on to say if someone from Tyson had treated a dog or a cat the way the group says the farm treats chickens, that person would be put in jail.
Last week Tyson said in a video response it was suspicious of the claims from Mercy for Animals.

"Animal well being is a top priority for us," said Christine Daugherty, vice president-Animal Well-Being Programs and Technology, in that video.
WBOC reached out to Tyson Tuesday for comment on both what Sec. Kee had to say and the counter from Mercy for Animals but did not get a response from the company.

Bill Satterfield, with Delmarva Poultry Industry, Friday called the video misleading, saying it was heavily edited and created by a group with an agenda.
A group of academic experts questioned the claims, too but did say some of the animal handling techniques "appeared rough."

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