The Animal Rights organisation PETA has made public information provided to them by a whistleblower from the American Ostrich Farms in Kuna, Idaho (supposedly a “humane” farm for ostrich flesh), alleging horrific animal abuse. 

PETA says the whistleblower reported that workers on the farm violently hit and kicked ostriches frequently. According to the whistleblower, some ostriches were reported to attempt to get away in panic, running full force into fences, broking their wings and toes, skinning their legs, and ripping their chests open.

American Ostrich Farms claims that the ostriches are “humanely raised,” and that they “have access to a thermally comfortable environment at all times, so that heat/cold stress does not occur” and “have access to fixed or mobile housing that keeps them dry and protects them from wind.” However, the whistleblower reported that the farm confined birds to wet, muddy enclosures without adequate shelter from the rain, snow, and wind. 

Ostriches are wild animals, not domestic animals, native to tropical hot and dry African savannahs. However, together with other ratites such as Rheas and Emus, they are unfortunately farmed for their flesh, feathers, or fat. In such farms, they suffer a lot in captivity as they cannot behave naturally. For instance, ostriches regularly groom themselves by rolling in the sand, but American Ostrich Farms allegedly denied them the opportunity to take dust baths or even to stay dry. 

According to the whistleblower, in the winter, the birds were forced to sit on freezing mud and their feet became frostbitten, and many birds reportedly died while frozen to the ground. Workers allegedly neglected injured and underweight ostriches, often causing them to endure prolonged, painful deaths, and poured food for at least half the birds into mud or broken, leaky feeders, resulting in wet feed they wouldn’t eat. In late 2023, many underweight birds reportedly froze to death as the weather got colder.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.