The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Meredith Turner, Farm Sanctuary, 646-369-6212,

Ducklings Seized During Santa Cruz Hatchery Cruelty Investigation Brought to Farm Sanctuary

California Shelter Director Leanne Cronquist: “If kittens or puppies were treated this way, animal cruelty charges would have been brought in this case a long time ago.”

ORLAND, Calif.

, the nation's leading
farm animal protection organization, has revealed that the surviving
at the center of a year-long cruelty investigation of the Cal-Cruz Hatcheries in Santa Cruz,
came to the organization's Orland sanctuary. In May 2009, 88 animals
seized by the Santa Cruz County
Services Authority
after an investigation that corroborated
evidence captured by an undercover investigator working with the animal
protection charity Compassion Over
Many were in such bad shape that they had to be euthanized; however
of the ducklings survived and were brought to Farm Sanctuary for ongoing

Video evidence showed a number of disturbing
images of abuse
including decapitated and mangled hatchlings caught in machinery, sick
gravely injured ducklings left to suffer for hours, one duckling
drowning in a
bucket of liquid waste, unwanted hatchlings treated like trash, and baby
being tossed into buckets up to six feet across a room. According to
Over Killing, the Santa Cruz
office held the case for several months before
declining to prosecute the hatchery for violations of state animal

"If kittens or puppies were treated this
way, animal
cruelty charges would have been brought in this case a long time ago,"
stated Leanne Cronquist, Farm Sanctuary's California shelter director.
"I find
it appalling that even though California's state animal cruelty laws do
not distinguish between companion animals and farm animals, that the
Santa Cruz
District Attorney appears to be taking exception in this case based on
what the
Cal-Cruz Hatchery owner claims is 'standard' practice. If this is
the industry's standard practice, then abuse is rampant across this
industry, and law enforcement should investigate further."

Farm Sanctuary has found adoptive homes for
many of the
ducks rescued from the Cal-Cruz Hatchery through the organization's Farm Animal Adoption Network and
to care for eight of the ducks at its northern Calif. Shelter. The
is calling for justice in this case, asking for the Santa Cruz District
Attorney's office to reconsider animal cruelty charges.

"We are thankful for the Santa Cruz Animal
Authority's efforts in this case," continued Cronquist. "Our
one consolation is that 38 of these birds found refuge, and we get to
see eight
of them spend their days laying the sun, swimming in the pond and
enjoying one another's
company as they grow up, free from abuse, neglect and an industry that
them like trash."

If you
would like to speak with Farm
Sanctuary California Shelter Director Leanne Cronquist, please contact
Turner at 646-369-6212 or

Beautiful photos of the
ducks enjoying their life at Farm Sanctuary's Orland shelter are
available to media upon request.

Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.