Just as shoppers make Thanksgiving meal plans, a shocking new hidden-camera video of animal abuse secretly recorded at multiple Butterball turkey factory farms has been released by the national animal protection organization Mercy For Animals. Butterball is the world's largest producer of turkey meat and is responsible for 30 percent of the turkeys killed for Thanksgiving in the United States.
The disturbing undercover video, which reveals the same laundry list of abuses exposed during an MFA investigation into Butterball last year—abuses that resulted in criminal animal cruelty convictions for Butterball employees—shows workers kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or on top of other birds. It also shows turkeys suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries left to slowly suffer and die.
Dr. Greg Burkett, the North Carolina State University avian veterinarian who accompanied law enforcement on a 2011 raid at Butterball stemming from an MFA investigation, reviewed the new investigation footage and 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."
As this investigation illustrates, the lives of turkeys in Butterball's factory farms remain brutal and filled with fear, violence, and prolonged suffering. While wild turkeys are sleek, agile, and able to fly, Butterball's turkeys have been selectively 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.
"Butterball has once again been caught in the act of subjecting animals to horrific cruelty and violence and should be held criminally accountable," said MFA's executive director Nathan Runkle. "Before ending up on Thanksgiving dinner plates, turkeys killed for Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, left to die from festering, bloody wounds, and thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers."
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