Who’s Murdering Thousands of Chickens in South Carolina?


Nguyen’s farm wasn’t the only one hit that night. Three others also had their control systems sabotaged, killing the birds inside. Over the next week about 320,000 chickens died in attacks on farms throughout Clarendon County, in what appears to be the largest crime against industrial poultry farms in U.S. history. All the birds were owned by Pilgrim’s, which pays Nguyen and other farmers to raise the animals…

For people living flock-to-flock, it was a potentially ruinous blow, and one that can be understood only within the peculiar and brutal economics of chicken farming. Companies such as Pilgrim’s force contract farmers to compete against one another for their pay. One farmer’s bonus is taken directly from his neighbor’s paycheck…

Among the regular participants in these meetings was a farmer named James Lowery, a skinny man with close-cropped brown hair and glasses that make him look like a bookish accountant… Farmers interviewed by Garrett’s investigators said Lowery was having problems with Pilgrim’s, and the company wasn’t going to renew his contract…

The blame belongs to Pilgrim’s.

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