Egg Producer Permanently Removed From Industry in SettlementPosted on August 21, 2014
For immediate release:
Lisa Franzetta, ALDF
Megan Backus, ALDF
SAN FRANCISCO — Today, the national nonprofit Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) is announcing a settlement on behalf of plaintiffs Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary in the animal groups’ lawsuit against egg industry defendants Andy Cheung and Lien Diep. The defendants abandoned 50,000 hens without food at a facility near Turlock, which led to the largest farmed animal rescue in California history. The settlement permanently prohibits Cheung, who managed the facility, from working directly with animals again—and places similar restrictions on Diep.
In February 2012, Cheung and Diep, doing business as A & L Poultry, abandoned 50,000 hens without food and left them to die. Tens of thousands of the birds starved to death while others drowned in giant manure pits under their cages. Animal Place, Farm Sanctuary, and Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary were able to rescue approximately 5,000 birds.
ALDF and the law firm Schiff Hardin provided pro bono counsel, suing A & L Poultry on behalf of the sanctuaries that rescued and rehabilitated the surviving hens. At the sanctuaries, these hens were able to engage in natural behaviors and feel the earth beneath their feet for the first time in their lives and most have been adopted into loving homes.
Cheung and Diep still face criminal prosecution for felony animal cruelty in February 2013. Each defendant faces up to three years in prison and fines of up to $20,000 under California Penal Code section 597(b), which makes it a crime to deprive animals of proper food, water, or shelter, or to inflict needless suffering and unnecessary cruelty.
“The egg industry is rife with routine animal suffering, but today’s settlement ensures that those responsible for the tragedy in Turlock are permanently out of the business of raising animals,” said Matthew Liebman, senior attorney for the Animal Legal Defense Fund.
Copies of the lawsuit and the documentary film Turlock, which chronicles the dramatic rescue of the hens, are available by request.