The Real Cost of Costco’s Giant Rotisserie Chickens
Costco's beefy rotisserie chickens are the stuff of legend. They're the pro wrestlers of the rotisserie chicken community, with crispy, golden skin and a sizable girth. They're big boys. But now a lawsuit claims Costco is violating several animal welfare laws by raising chickens that grow "unnaturally" fast.
Why animal rights activists are suing Costco.
The Nebraska Examiner reports that two Costco shareholders filed the lawsuit in Costco's home state of Washington. The suit includes the company's top executives and several board members, who are accused of breaching the company's fiduciary duty by providing inadequate "individualized" veterinary care to rotisserie chickens. The unfortunate chickens are currently being raised in Nebraska and Iowa by a subsidiary, Lincoln Premium Poultry, created specifically for Costco's ambitious rotisserie chicken operation.
The chickens are indeed huge. The animal rights group Mercy For Animals conducted a hidden camera investigation that uncovered abhorrent conditions. The investigation is cited in the lawsuit, which alleges that some birds grow so large so quickly that they cannot stand after falling on their backs. The lawsuit also alleges that the chickens are kept by inexperienced farmers who leave the chickens in "overcrowded" and "dirty" barns with thousands of birds.
The lawsuit appears to directly contradict Costco's animal welfare policy, which can be found on the wholesale chain's website. The chain points out that due to the large number of Costco suppliers, "it is simply not practical to constantly verify that all suppliers comply with all aspects of our animal welfare policies."
Keep that in mind the next time you shop at Costco. Rotisserie chicken is objectively delicious, but given the allegations in the lawsuit, it's hard to justify buying it.
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