Lawsuit Accuses Costco of Violating Nebraska Animal Welfare Laws | Crime


LORI PILGER Lincoln Journal Star

In a recently filed lawsuit, Costco was accused of violating animal welfare laws in Nebraska and Iowa for allegedly raising chickens that grow so fast they can’t support their own weight. and die.

The lawsuit – filed by two shareholders in Superior Court in King County, Washington, where Costco is based – involves an undercover investigation into Lincoln Premium Poultry near Fremont last year.

In a 48-page complaint, attorney Adam Karp said that in an effort to continue selling $4.99 rotisserie chickens to drive foot traffic, Costco directors and officers deliberately ignored red flags that their poultry production practices are illegal.

The Lincoln Premium Poultry plant in Fremont produces chickens for Costco.

Lincoln Premium Poultry Facebook Page

He said Costco sends millions of fast-growing birds to “dirty, overcrowded factory farms run by inexperienced contract growers whom Costco has recruited and trained.” There, he says, the disabled birds are slowly dying of starvation, thirst, injury and disease.

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Karp said Costco’s practices amounted to neglect and abandonment of chickens, a violation of state law.

Lawsuit asks judge to find Costco president, CEO, chairman of the board and others liable for breaching their fiduciary duty and order them to take all necessary steps to reform and improve Costco’s policies, procedures and practices.

Poultry Open House

Up to 100,000 chickens a day move along the processing line at the Costco processing plant in Fremont. The chickens are then sent to Costco warehouses across the country.

JUSTIN WAN, Newspaper Star

In a press release, Alene Anello, president of Legal Impact for Chickens, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that advocates for animals, said, “Once hailed as an innovative warehouse club, Costco today represents a grim existence for Nebraska animals that are in storage. in inevitable misery.”

Costco has yet to file a response and did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the allegations.

But in a statement last year after Mercy for Animals, a Los Angeles-based animal welfare nonprofit, released its 2021 investigation, Costco said it was committed to maintaining “the highest standards of animal welfare, humane processes and ethical conduct throughout the supply chain.”

Poultry Open House

Ellen Cooling and Curt Cooling of Omaha listen to maintenance supervisor Vince Smith (right) during a tour of the Costco chicken processing plant in Fremont.

JUSTIN WAN, Newspaper Star

“Lincoln Premium Poultry shares our commitment, as do the independent producers selected for the program who have been carefully chosen based on our mutual business philosophies. Independent audits are carried out regularly to ensure that all parties are in constant compliance.”

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