An animal rights group is seeking criminal charges after officials discovered nearly 50,000 dying chickens abandoned on an egg farm near Modesto, Calif., MSNBC reports via the Modesto Bee. Most of the birds were euthanized due to illness, but about 2,000 are being treated at sanctuaries and will be available for adoption. A&L Poultry, which owned the abandoned egg farm, apologized for leaving the hens behind.
“An attempt to arrange for delivery of the chickens to a third party in order to avoid the usual business practice of euthanizing the chickens" led to the problem, A&L said in a statement. Farm Sanctuary, a New York-based group that took in some of the birds, says it will seek criminal charges against farm owner Andy Keung Cheung for animal cruelty and neglect. "The responsible party or parties subjected each bird to unnecessary and unjustifiable physical pain, suffering, and death," the group wrote in a letter to a sheriff's office.