A handful of people gathered on the front lawn of Gordon Food Service earlier today to protest animal cruelty. The protest was part of a nationwide campaign by Mercy for Animals, a nonprofit animal advocacy organization condemning the treatment of chickens by Gordon Food Service.
"We've been doing this all across the country," said campaign spokesperson Jeni Haines. "We're asking Gordon Food Service to adopt a meaningful animal welfare policy. This is sickening abuse that no food service producer should accept."
According to Mercy for Animals, chickens at Gordon Food Service supplier facilities are scalded alive in boiling hot water tanks. They also experience electric shock and have their throats slit.
"It makes you sad. That's not a society I want to be a part of," says Marianne Komlenic, who is vegan. "I know I can't change people to not eat meat, but there needs to be more humane treatment. The chickens are scalded when they're alive. I don't think the general public has any clue."
Chickens make up an estimated 95 percent of the animals killed for food each year in the United States. However, they are not included in the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act which regulates the slaughter of cows, pigs and other animals.
"I'm really concerned about how chickens are treated and how animals are treated in general," said Helen Direnzo another vegan. "People need to know how their food gets on their plate, where it comes from. This is the reality of it here."
In a statement from March GFS said: "Gordon Food Service believes in the humane treatment of animals. As a responsible food service distributor, we take this situation seriously. We have always insisted that our suppliers adhere to all applicable laws and regulations, and meet industry standards within their respective product areas. We will continue to work with our suppliers to ensure they operate responsibly, just as we have for the last 118 years."
But for several at the protest, their position is about more than humanely killing animals like pigs, cows and chickens. Some said there is no way Gordon Food Service and other companies could make the killing of animals humane.
"I went vegan to stop the suffering of animals," said Jill Moran. "Once you see the malicious suffering and torture the animals go through, it makes it easy to stop."