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Chicken worker pleads guilty to animal cruelty

A Rockingham County man farm pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and will no longer be allowed to work with animals after undercover video showed him kicking, stomping and throwing birds at processing farms that contract chickens for Perdue.

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ROCKINGHAM, N.C. — A Rockingham County man pleaded guilty to animal cruelty charges and will no longer be allowed to work with animals after undercover video showed him kicking, stomping and throwing birds at processing farms that contract chickens for Perdue.

Danny Cajija Miranda, 22, was convicted of three counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty and sentenced to 45 days’ imprisonment, 12 months’ probation and a prohibition on working with animals.

Miranda's arrest stemmed from a video by advocacy group Mercy for Animals that showed chickens being manhandled and others that were ill, deformed and unable to move.

Mercy for Animals President Nathan Runkle said, “This case graphically illustrates the cruel, inhumane, and illegal abuses that farmed animals are all too often subjected to at Perdue chicken factory farms across the country.”

A new state law effective Jan. 1 made undercover videos such as those taken by Mercy for Animals harder to obtain.

Dubbed an "ag-gag" measure by its critics, the law gives businesses the right to sue employees who expose trade secrets or take pictures of their workplaces.

The law goes beyond agricultural facilities to include everything from nursing homes and day cares to restaurants and pharmacies – any whistleblower who takes video or pictures without an employer's consent, even if what they document is criminal activity.

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Jodi Leese Glusco, Web Editor

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