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Animal rights group releases 'horrific' video of alleged abuse at NC turkey hatchery

Posted June 4

Image from Mercy for Animals video

— A California-based animal-rights group released Wednesday what it calls "horrific" video of animal abuse at a Butterball turkey hatchery in Raeford.

Mercy for Animals secretly recorded the nearly 3-minute clip – posted on the website Butterball Abuse (viewer discretion advised) – of baby turkeys, or poults, being mutilated without painkillers, ground up alive in a macerating machine and thrown and dropped by employees.

"This investigation graphically illustrates that a culture of cruelty and abuse continues to run rampant at Butterball facilities," said Nathan Runkle, executive director of the nonprofit, which has exposed similar abuse cases in recent years at other Butterball farms in North Carolina.

In one case from December 2011, five employees were convicted of animal cruelty charges.

Runkle said his group has turned over the video to local law enforcement.

The company said in a statement Wednesday that it has a zero-tolerance policy for animal mistreatment and that an internal investigation with third-party review of the video found workers to be compliant with approved industry practices.

"While experts agree the video does not depict any willful acts of negligence or mistreatment, Butterball does proactively search for continuous improvement opportunities and will provide additional training and education to hatchery associates on animal care and well-being policies to include proper poult handling, transferring methods and management of facility equipment," the statement said.

According to Mercy for Animals, Butterball is responsible for 20 percent of the 252 million turkeys killed each year in the United States. The Raeford hatchery processes more than 300,000 poults per week.

53 Comments

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  • iknowmyschnitzel Jun 4, 12:43 p.m.

    "Butterball spokeswoman Melissa Winn said in an email Wednesday that the company has a zero-tolerance policy for animal mistreatment and that an internal investigation with third-party review of the video found workers to be compliant with approved industry practices."

    WHAT??????????????????

  • -Va- Jun 4, 12:53 p.m.

    People like turkey. Ain't gonna change anytime soon.

    Somebody needs to call Temple Grandin to see if the lives of these birds can be made any less unfortunate.

  • Jun 4, 1:10 p.m.

    Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Our state legislature is treating us just the same way.

  • kbird Jun 4, 1:12 p.m.

    How does this not depict cruelty???? This is disgusting & what is even more disturbing is how many people just don't care! It doesn't take a great deal of effort to treat these animals humanely & in fact i think it takes more effort to treat them with such disregard!

  • buckskin022 Jun 4, 1:12 p.m.

    This happens at almost every factory farm, There is no excuse to treat these animals this way just because they are going to slaughter, the people that do this kind of thing to animals are just ignorant idoits!

  • kbird Jun 4, 1:16 p.m.

    You know though, our government treat our veterans just as bad so i would be shocked if anything meaningful is done about this!

  • itsnotmeiswear Jun 4, 1:21 p.m.

    It's a turkey. I guess the next thing we should do is open turkey prisons for the criminal turkeys that are charged with assault after they peck their buddy on the head. If you don't like it, you should eat chicken, pork, fish, or beef. They are treated so much more humanely. I'd say stick to fruits and vegetables, but sometimes, a bad apple is discarded without a second thought.

  • -Va- Jun 4, 1:26 p.m.

    Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy. Our state legislature is treating us just the same way.

    --Best comment of the day!!!

  • storminnorman Jun 4, 1:29 p.m.

    It's a turkey. I guess the next thing we should do is open turkey prisons for the criminal... View More

    — Posted by itsnotmeiswear

    Amen!

  • Lee Co Rat Jun 4, 1:33 p.m.

    claytontarheel Jun 4, 1:21 p.m.

    I am from a long line of farmers in NC, we kill animals on a regular basis for food.
    However the animals are treated and fed well and treated with dignity and put down
    as quickly as possible to limit suffering. If you cant recognize the cruelty in this video
    I will pray for you because this should sicken anyone.

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