Rockingham chicken factory video leads to arrest

A worker at a poultry factory in Richmond County has been arrested on animal cruelty charges after an undercover investigation by an animal-welfare organization produced a video of chickens being kicked, spun by their necks and crammed into sheds.

According to the group, Mercy for Animals, Danny Miranda was arrested Tuesday night and charged with four counts of felony animal cruelty. He was being held in lieu of $10,000 bail in the county jail, according to the group.

Mercy for Animals has been involved in a number of similar investigations in North Carolina and campaigned against a law enacted this year prohibiting unauthorized videotaping at farms and other businesses.

Mercy for Animals released a statement saying this could be the last such investigation in North Carolina, because the new law goes into effect in January.

The animal-welfare group’s investigation took place at Deese Farm and Hideaway Farms in Rockingham, both of which are contract factories for Perdue.

In a statement from Perdue, Dr. Bruce Stewart-Brown, a veterinarian who oversees live production for the company, said: “We are appalled by the mistreatment and abuse by a contract catching crew and farm worker shown in the video. We are deeply disturbed that birds with obvious leg or health issues were left to suffer.”

Stewart-Brown said Perdue was “committed to working with law enforcement to identify everyone involved and hope that Mercy For Animals will cooperate to facilitate those efforts. We are committed to taking aggressive action to hold those involved accountable and to prevent similar behavior in the future.”

Craig Jarvis: 919-829-4576, @CraigJ_NandO