Lawsuit accuses Costco of violating Nebraska animal-welfare laws


Lori Pilger, The Lincoln Journal Star (NE) 

June 15, 2022


In a newly filed lawsuit, Costco has been accused of violating animal-welfare laws in Nebraska and Iowa for allegedly raising chickens that grow so fast they cannot stand under their own weight and die.


The complaint — filed by two shareholders in Superior Court in King County, Washington, where Costco is based — involves an undercover investigation into Lincoln Premium Poultry near Fremont last year.


In a 48-page complaint, attorney Adam Karp said in an effort to continue selling $4.99 rotisserie chickens to drive foot traffic, Costco directors and officers have willfully ignored red flags indicating their poultry production practices are unlawful.


He said Costco sends millions of the fast-growing birds to "dirty, crowded, factory farms, run by inexperienced contract growers who Costco recruited and trained." There, he said, the disabled birds slowly die from hunger, thirst, injury and illness.


Karp said Costco’s practices amount to neglect and abandonment of the chickens, a violation of state law.


The lawsuit is asking a judge to find Costco's president, CEO, chairman of the board and others, liable for breaching their fiduciary duty and order them to take all necessary actions to reform and improve Costco’s policies, procedures and practices.


In a press release, Alene Anello, president of Legal Impact for Chickens, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that advocates for animals, said: “Once lauded as an innovative warehouse club, Costco today represents a grim existence for animals in Nebraska who are warehoused in inescapable misery."