The lawsuit alleges that the animals are bred so large they are unable to stand — an impairment that causes them to slowly die of hunger, injury, and illness. The company's practices violate livestock welfare laws in both Nebraska and Iowa, where the chickens are raised, according to the complaint.
The wholesale club famously sells the birds at a loss and has taken steps to keep costs as low as possible. It formed a subsidiary to manage its poultry supply and opened a $450 million Nebraska-based processing plant in November. Costco shoppers buy more than 100 million rotisserie chickens annually. Costco has not responded to media requests for comment on the lawsuit.