Costco (COST) has found itself in the middle of a lawsuit over its popular rotisserie chickens, which it sells at its wholesale stores for the bargain price of $4.99.

The lawsuit against the retailer claims it is violating its fiduciary responsibility to shareholders with the “illegal neglect and abandonment” of the chickens at its Fremont, Nebraska, chicken breeding facility by two Costco shareholders, according to the Nebraska Examiner.

In the suit, the shareholders accuse Costco of knowingly breeding chickens that are too large to stand up, and the “disabled birds slowly die from hunger, thirst, injury, and illness,” Business Insider reported. The suit goes on to say that the Costco defendants named in the suit ignored the reports of abuse.

The $450 million plant, which Costco opened in 2019, processes about 2 million chickens a week or about half the wholesale chain’s total supply of chickens, the Nebraska Examiner said.

The lawsuit also goes on to claim that Costco growers often didn’t have any prior experience raising chickens that were in “crowded” and “filthy” barns that held up to 45,000 birds, the news outlet reported.

In a statement, Alene Anello, president of the activist group Legal Impact for Chickens, representing the shareholders, said: “Once lauded as an innovative warehouse club, Costco today represents a grim existence for animals in Nebraska who are warehoused in inescapable misery.”

In 2021, Costco sold 106 million rotisserie chickens at its stores and has been committed to keeping the price at $4.99 since 2009.

The lawsuit is not the first time that Costco has had to defend its chicken breeding practices, as in 2021, the retailer was criticized by Mercy for Animals after it visited it processing facility and said the conditions included “chickens struggling to walk under their own unnatural weight,” bodies burned bare from ammonia-laden litter,” “dead days-old chicks,” and “piles of rotting birds,” the Independent reported.

In a response, obtained by the Independent, Costco said it was “committed to maintaining the highest standards of animal welfare, humane processes and ethical conduct throughout the supply chain.”

As of Thursday at 1:36 p.m. ET, shares of Costco were trading at $456.62, down $2.17, or 0.47%.

A shopper loads a car with bottled water at a Costco Wholesalers in Chingford A shopper loads a car with bottled water at a Costco Wholesalers in Chingford, Britain, on March 15, 2020. Photo: Reuters/John Sibley