MIAMI – Thousands of baby chickens were found dead inside of cardboard boxes at Miami International Airport.
The baby chicks were apparently unloaded from a plane and then left on the tarmac, baking in the sun on a day when the heat index hit 99 degrees.
Local 10 News has learned they were part of a shipment of live chicks being sent by a company called Welp Hatchery and were headed to the Abaco Big Bird Family Farm in the Bahamas.
When the Delta flight they were on landed at MIA around 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, the boxes the chicks were in were unloaded from the plane by employees of Eulen America and placed into metal baggage carts.
They were then supposed to be taken by employees of Alliance Ground International where they would be stored overnight before being picked up by another shipping company, Wincorp International, to be transported to the Bahamas.
But, for some reason, the chicks were never taken off of the tarmac, and instead sat there baking in the South Florida sun.
By the time they were noticed, thousands had died.
In fact, the farm told Local 10 News’ Ian Margol that of the 5,200 chicks that were initially in the shipment, only 1,300 made it to them alive.
Local 10 News has been hounding Delta, Eulen, and Alliance Ground, trying to figure out what went wrong and why these animals were left out there to suffer.
To this point, only Delta and Eulen have responded, with Delta saying they are aware of the situation and are trying to assess what happened to find a resolution.
Eulen responded Thursday afternoon, saying that the matter is under investigation and they wouldn’t be commenting until the investigation was concluded, while adding, “Please note that EULEN is in charge of the loading and unloading of cargo onto the aircraft, but the transportation and delivery are under another ground handling corporation. We hope for a swift resolution of this matter.”
The people at the Abaco Big Bird Farm said they were horrified by what happened and have never seen anything like it in 27 years of being in business.
Local 10 News has reached out to several agencies, including local law enforcement, the Florida Department of Agriculture, and the Department of Homeland Security to see if any criminal investigation is underway.