A video showing chicks being tossed between buckets and covered in dye has sparked fury on social media in the run up to Easter. The video posted on Facebook has been viewed more than four million times since mid-March.
The footage starts by showing a box full of multicoloured chicks chirping before cutting to a person dumping a tray of uncoloured chicks into a bucket. Wearing gloves, the person then covers the chicks twice in green dye and tosses them around to coat them all in the colouring. Once they are covered, the person kicks aside a tray and pours the chicks into another tray, then uses his hands to spread them out in the container.
The video posted by media company 19 has been shared almost 50,000 times, with nearly 9,000 comments. One person said: "This is cruel on all levels." Another commenter suggested that it was not the dying that upset people but the callous treatment of the chicks: "I don't think it's the fact that they're colouring the chickens that upsets everyone. It's that he's tossing them around and roughing them up. Probably breaks little wings, legs, etc. Sad."
Coloured chicks are popular around Easter time. Poultry farmers say that some methods of dying the chicks, such as injecting the egg or spraying the hatchling, are harmless but animal rights campaigners object, saying that it turns the chicks into temporary seasonal playthings that are left unwanted after the holidays.