Last year, an undercover video taped by Mercy for Animals allegedly found animal abuse and cruelty at a Butterball turkey facility. At that time, Butterball said it had a “zero tolerance policy for any mistreatment of our birds.” Now, another video has surfaced, detailing more alleged violence and cruelty to the birds.
The video seems to shows workers kicking and stomping on birds, birds suffering and slowly dying because of no medical attention, and workers dragging the birds by their fragile wings and necks. According to the makers of the video, it was recorded at a Butterball turkey facility. Butterball is the world’s largest producer of turkey meat, putting about 30% of the United States’ Thanksgiving turkeys on the table.
Dr. Greg Burkett, the North Carolina State University avian veterinarian who accompanied law enforcement during the 2011 raid at the Butterball facility in Hoke County, North Carolina, said, “the abuses shown in this video are identical to the abuses documented in last year’s Butterball investigation, which led to criminal cruelty to animals charges and convictions. These behaviors are cruel, inhumane, and injurious to the birds. I am appalled at the disrespect these workers have toward the lives of other living creatures.”
In addition, the report states that Butterball’s turkeys are “bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks. Due to the company’s lack of meaningful animal welfare policies, training, or procedures, Butterball continues to subject countless turkeys to immeasurable cruelty and neglect each year.”
Abuse can translate to food safety problems. Stress reduces an animal’s fitness, making it more vulnerable to disease. A review conducted by the Livestock Behavior Research Unit at the USDA facility in West Lafayette Indiana found that “there is increasing evidence to demonstrate that stress can have a significant deleterious effect on food safety through a variety of potential mechanisms.”