January 12, 2021

Turkey Abuse Allegedly Recorded at Butterball Plant

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.”



  1. S;ylvia Smithwick says

    It is horrible to witness the sickening abuse of these helpless turkeys. I cannot believe a reputable company would hire or keep employees who are so heartless to do these things. It disgusts me with the Butterball turkey company. I will never buy another one and I will inform others of this abuse. In fact, I am considering going vegan.

  2. NicoleFrancisE says

    Kathy, thank you so much for sharing this story!! Here’s a link with some cruelty-free recipes everyone might be interested in: http://www.mercyforanimals.org/thanksgiving-recipes.aspx

  3. This is very heartbreaking to hear what Butterball actually do to these poor turkeys. For more information about how to choose a better eating lifestyle, check out http://www.ChooseVeg.com the website is very informative.

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