In a tragic event last week, a semi-truck carrying nearly 900 live turkeys overturned in Virginia. While it is unclear how many birds survived the crash, photos captured at the scene showed several birds who appeared dead, a number of injured birds, and a crowd of distressed live birds gathered by the side of the highway. According to local police, the truck driver was speeding on the turn, and has been charged with reckless driving.
Source: WSLS 10/YouTube
While this is not an everyday incident, it is also not an isolated one; crowded and unsafe conditions on transportation trucks often lead to gruesome results when these vehicles are involved in accidents. In the United States, the only federal law designed to protect farmed animals during live transports is the Twenty-eight hour law of 1877, which mandates that animals en route to slaughter can travel up to twenty-eight hours straight without food, water or rest- and this can be legally extended for up to thirty-six hours with written permission. This law is punishable by a maximum of just $500, a fine which pales in comparison to the value of the meat the animals on a truck are worth.
Not a single current federal law exists in the United States limiting crowding on transportation trucks, nor does a law exist to protect farmed animals from foul weather during transports. The assembly line of meat production rarely halts for poor weather conditions, so in the dead of summer, animals are often documented dying of heatstroke, while in winter it is not uncommon to see animals frozen to death or suffering from frostbite upon arrival at the slaughterhouse.
Time and time again, animal advocates witness slaughter truck crashes ending in severe injury and death of animals due to a lack of protection and the standard practice of extreme overcrowding. In 2006, the farmed animal advocacy organization Farm Sanctuary put together a report reviewing these incidents over a six-year period, reviewing a total of 233 incidents leading to the deaths of at least 27,000 animals.
There is no evidence that these numbers have decreased.
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