Local News

Former Butterball worker pleads guilty to animal cruelty charge

Posted August 28, 2012

— A Raeford man pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of animal cruelty that stemmed from a December 2011 raid at a Hoke County Butterball turkey farm.

Deputies raided the Shannon farm after animal-rights group Mercy for Animals provided a hidden-camera video that showed farm workers beating and stomping on turkeys.

Brian Gerrard Douglas, 36, of 7140 Laurinburg Road, was among five who worked at the Shannon farm arrested in February. By the time of the arrests, all five had been dismissed from the company. 

Douglas was ordered to pay a fine, fees and will be subject to three years of probation.

The video showed workers stomping and kicking birds. Investigators found some turkeys at the farm were in such poor condition that they had to be euthanized.

Cases are still pending against Billy Thomas McBryde, 52, of 22-A West Gate Terrace in Red Springs, Ronnie Jacobs, 57, of 4475 Rockfish Road, Lot 22 in Raeford, and Ruben Mendoza and Terry Johnson, no ages or addresses available.

Dr. Sarah Mason, director of animal health programs in the state Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Poultry Division, pleaded guilty in February to her role in informing a veterinarian for Butterball that Hoke County prosecutors were reviewing the undercover video. She was placed on probation for a year.


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  • changeyourownlife Aug 29, 2012


    yes. thats exactly the same thing. lets do that. or maybe we could look at it from a less insane perspective: its bc the turkeys are too stupid to get away and too small to be able to do anything but claw and scratch--self-preservation is sort of a natural instinct for every species...but you think it's the turkeys fault bc they should just ignore every animal instinct (which is all their tiny brains are meant to go on) and let the guy catch 'em. how dare they try to get away? how dare they act like an animal? its obvious that you have some chip on your shoulder about vegans but, i don't think expecting the people to treat the animals w/ some respect for life is too much to ask nor is it necessarily 'vegans'that are expecting it...more like rational adults that don't need to brutalize just bc we're higher up on the food chain.

  • Rebelyell55 Aug 28, 2012

    Our forefather are sitting up there just shaking their heads. Now old Ben on the other hand, would most likely say we should of shown the Turkey more respect. Just a pure waste of time and tax dollars.

  • doggypoos Aug 28, 2012

    "Investigators found some turkeys at the farm were in such poor condition that they had to be euthanize."

    So what happens to the guy that owns the farm huh?

  • doggypoos Aug 28, 2012

    So when the turkeys dump on and scratch up the workers that have to catch and hang these poor little animals that are about to be slaughtered in the food process what charges are brought against the animal? Vegans so badly wants everybody on the planet to follow their beliefs. Plants are living too. Lets charge folk for slicing lettuce and tomatoes.

  • RM24 Aug 28, 2012

    I think we should all file lawsuits against the companies that make mouse traps, make raid, or anything else used to abuse these poor creatues also. What happened to their rights as creatures? How dare you harm those cute little fire ants! What are they thinking as you destroy their homes they worked so hard to build! Shame on you all!

  • jdupree Aug 28, 2012

    People avoid child support, beat their spouses, get drunk, etc and we waste the courts time on something that should have been handled by Butterball.

  • Carrboro-resident Aug 28, 2012

    While it is encouraging that this individual has been brought to justice, it is important to point out (like airbornemonty said) that Butterball facilitated this abuse by creating a culture of cruelty and neglect at its farms. And the even bigger picture that we all need to think about: consumers can help prevent needless suffering like this by adopting a compassionate diet free of animals and "products" that naturally belong to them. Demand and supply.

  • airbornemonty Aug 28, 2012

    The men that were punished were at the bottom of the totem pole, what about management.

    Shouldn't there have been management supervision? And we know that workers only do those things that the boss checks and apparently these guys were not being checked.

  • Smedley Aug 28, 2012

    In other news the turkeys who were not stomped and kicked had their heads cut off and were delicious.

  • daughters of anarchy Aug 28, 2012

    What's wrong with people?