Concerns Arise Over Euthanasia, Disposal of Now-Former Cooks Venture Poultry Flock

Dec. 7, 2023
Contract growers for the now-closed Cooks Venture poultry operation say the company wants to euthanize the birds without any known plan for safe, clean disposal of the carcasses.

Not only has the sudden closure of Decatur, Ark.-based Cooks Venture put hundreds of now-former employees out of work without much notice, a local news outlet has reported that farmers who were set up to supply the slow-growth poultry processor face a significant, fast-growing concern over the birds they were contracted to raise — which now have no final processing destination.

According to the news outlet, tens of thousands of chickens being grown by contract farmers in Arkansas and Oklahoma for Cooks Venture could very well be euthanized on-site at the farms, leaving the growers to dispose of the dead birds.

Poultry farmers cited in the report say the company wants to euthanize all the chickens on the farms with no clear plan for what to do with the dead birds afterward. It was unclear to most of those farmers whether the company or government agencies would assist them with disposal. One farmer suggested taking a slower approach and seeing if there was anything that could be done to still process the birds and donate the chicken products, rather than kill them and waste the resources — and potentially create an environmental issue with the disposal of the thousands of pounds dead birds per farm.

Cooks Venture representatives had yet to reach out to any outlets to comment on the shutdown or the future of the contract farms and their heritage breed chicken flock at the time that this was published.

About the Author

Andy Hanacek | Senior Editor

Andy Hanacek has covered meat, poultry, bakery and snack foods as a B2B editor for nearly 20 years, and has toured hundreds of processing plants and food companies, sharing stories of innovation and technological advancement throughout the food supply chain. In 2018, he won a Folio:Eddie Award for his unique "From the Editor's Desk" video blogs, and he has brought home additional awards from Folio and ASBPE over the years. In addition, Hanacek led the Meat Industry Hall of Fame for several years and was vice president of communications for We R Food Safety, a food safety software and consulting company.

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