Two shareholders in Costco Wholesale Corp. have filed a legal complaint over the way the company produces its rotisserie chickens.
They complain that the birds are bred to grow too fast for their own wellbeing and that many of them are unable to access food or water.
Their claims are backed by undercover video gathered by Mercy for Animals, an animal activist group that has covertly shot a number of videos documenting animal abuse, including at a British Columbia dairy farm.
The shareholder derivative action, filed in King County Superior Court in Washington State, claims that Costco executives guided the company to violate laws against livestock neglect, breaching their basic fiduciary duty to act lawfully.
The filing specifically alleges that the rotisserie chickens sold by Costco — bred, raised and slaughtered by Lincoln Premium Poultry, a Costco-created company in Issaquah, Wash.— are bred to grow so quickly that many of them are unable to stand under their own weight.
The shareholders also reference company documents they viewed under state laws that grant shareholders the right to inspect company documents.
The Mercy for Animals video footage was shot and released in 2021.