In a country where chicken is king, you can get a whole lot more chicken in Texas than in any other state.
There are at least 3,500 parlor chicken farms in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
In Texas, you may be tempted to drive through the chicken parlor door and head into a backyard where you’ll find a dozen or more chickens with no cage.
But those backyard chickens are actually part of a vast, clandestine chicken farm network that has been operating since the 1970s.
A little-known part of the chicken farming industry, chicken farms have been hiding from state and federal authorities for years.
For years, they’ve kept their operations hidden, keeping chicken in cages and away from the public eye.
And now, after years of lobbying and government scrutiny, the chicken industry is finally admitting to the federal government that its farms are actually run by clandestine groups operating in the shadows.
We know what’s inside, but we have no idea who runs it and why, said Jim Whelan, a chicken farm attorney with the Texas-based Institute for Justice.
The chicken industry has tried to maintain its silence because it doesn’t want to risk a lawsuit that could force it to reveal what it knows.
That could cost it billions of dollars in court costs.
But if the chicken farms are really in the business of smuggling, hiding illegal chickens, then there’s no way the federal Government can sue them, Whelans lawyer, Charles Meacham, said.
They have to be prosecuted, and we want to see them prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
The chicken farms also need to come clean on who’s actually running them and how many are operating, he said.
The chicken parlour industry was first uncovered in the 1970, when Texas became the first state to ban the operation of backyard chicken farms, said Mark Wooten, a professor of law and agriculture at Texas A&M University who specializes in poultry.
“It was an extremely large industry that was hidden from the Texas legislature,” Wootens father, Richard, said, noting that the Texas Chicken Council is the largest group of backyard chickens.
After the ban on backyard chickens was enacted, Texas became a haven for the illegal chicken trade.
The state had one of the largest chicken markets in the country, with more than 100,000 birds sold each day, according a 2015 USDA report.
In the early 1980s, a small Texas chicken farm was discovered to be smuggling nearly 1,000 chickens per day.
Texas law enforcement officers began investigating and eventually raided the farm.
They found hundreds of thousands of chickens and more than 2,500 birds that were destined for interstate travel, said Michael Friel, an agent with the State of Texas Department of Public Safety, which is investigating the chicken trafficking case.
Authorities seized more than $6 million in chicken from the farm and about 2,000 other farm animals, according the State’s Department of Animal Services.
In 2001, the Texas Legislature passed legislation that established a task force to investigate the poultry industry, but no criminal prosecutions were brought.
The task force, which was established by then-Gov.
Rick Perry, failed to come up with a single case.
Instead, the task force focused on illegal chicken imports from Canada and Mexico, which Texas banned after the trade was uncovered.
That prompted the state to re-introduce the import ban in 2002, when the chicken business was thriving.
Even though the chicken trade has been heavily scrutinized, the poultry farming industry has been relatively silent about the scandal, said Chris Nye, an associate professor at the University of Texas School of Law.
What’s going on is the chicken farmers are really operating in a dark place.
They’re in the middle of a chicken trade, and it’s very, very lucrative,” he said, adding that the industry is very secretive about what it’s doing.
So the poultry farmers, who have been keeping their heads down and not admitting to it, are just getting more and more frustrated and they’re realizing that they can’t do anything about it.
To understand why this is happening, you have to understand the way that chicken farms operate, said James Hulsey, an attorney with Texas Farm Sanctuary.
They’re not going to admit that they’re being ripped off and it is not their responsibility to do anything.
It is their responsibility and they have to do it.
But what they can do is say, ‘I’m not going after this, I’m going to keep quiet and hope that someone comes in and gets to the bottom of it,’ Hulys attorney, Michael McBride, said during a recent appearance on Fox News.
Instead, McBride said the chicken farmer’s legal team has decided to get in front of the camera and say, “You know, I know this is a problem