"It made me so upset, I think someone ought to do something
immediately. Please respond."
Machipongo, VA - United Poultry Concerns received this call for help
by email from employees at Clayton Heating a mile away from the
Tractor Supply store in Rural Hall, North Carolina, 10 miles north of
Winston-Salem. According to their report, Tractor Supply has
"approximately 200 chickens in 2 bins that are 4-5 weeks old and
dying daily. They've been in these bins for weeks and are being given
away if you buy a bag of feed for $19.00. However, when we were over
there yesterday, we rescued 5 of them, and the others were really
pitiful - sitting in their own waste, pecking each other making
bleeding sores, and these chickens are sick."
Yesterday, United Poultry Concerns President Karen Davis called the
senders of this message to confirm the complaint and current status
of the birds, who were said to be in terrible condition. We contacted
Tractor Supply and spoke with a clerk who confirmed that the birds
are listless, overcrowded, and showing scabs and sores. She said the
water seemed "discolored" with antibiotics.
The chickens were flown as airmail from a hatchery in Iowa called
Whelp, Inc. This is one cause of their debilitated condition. Chicks
flown as ordinary mail like a package are bereft of temperature
regulation, handling considerations, and other measures afforded to
live animals shipped on airlines. Last year Northwest Airlines said
that up to 30 percent of chicks die during transport.
Chicks deprived of food for more than 48 hours, as is common in
airmail shipping, have no yoke sac nutrients left and are undergoing
dehydration. Because of the transport, crowding, filth, and lack of
sustenance, the chicks being used to promote sales by Tractor Supply,
based in Nashville, TN (Steve Elliott 615-366-4889), are traumatized
and unwell, and may be harboring Salmonella and Campylobacter.
United Poultry Concerns is calling upon the news media to investigate
the chicks at the Tractor Supply store in Rural Hall. Use of the
chicks for sales promotion is run by Lisa Wurth at the Tractor Supply
headquarters in Nashville. Her number is 615-366-4837.
"My telephone call with Lisa Wurth on Friday, March 1st confirmed my
fear that Tractor Supply has little or no concern for the welfare of
these birds," says UPC President Karen Davis. "Ms. Wurth said Tractor
Supply district manager, Cameron Mann, was at the store earlier in
the day and said the birds are fine."
Based on the written complaint and our follow-up phone calls to
Tractor Supply and Clayton Heating, we believe these birds are sick
and should be removed from the store immediately and humanely cared
for or else euthanized immediately.
United Poultry Concerns was given helpful information by the Forsyth
Humane Society and has left a voice mail message with the Forsyth
County Animal Control requesting investigative assistance with a view
to removal of the birds from Tractor Supply.
If the birds are removed and can be temporarily housed and cared for,
United Poultry Concerns will arrange to give and to find permanent
homes for as many of the birds as possible. We have already spoken
with local residents who are willing to help. Our own sanctuary in
Machipongo, Virginia is accredited by the American Sanctuary
Association and The Association of Sanctuaries.
These birds should not be replaced by a new set of birds. The
situation, including the inhumane transport of the chicks as mail
from out of state like packages and letters, is inherently cruel and
inhumane, regardless of Tractor Supply's intentions.
For more information, contact Karen Davis at 757-678-7875
United Poultry Concerns is a nonprofit organization that promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. For more information visit