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Hidden Cameras Capture Butterball Turkey Cruelty

SHANNON, N.C., Dec. 29, 2011 -- /PRNewswire/ -- Hidden-camera video secretly shot at a North Carolina Butterball factory farm by an undercover investigator with the animal protection organization Mercy For Animals (MFA) has led to a criminal animal cruelty investigation by state authorities. Following graphic undercover footage obtained by MFA – showing workers throwing, kicking, dragging, and beating turkeys, as well as birds suffering from bloody open wounds and infections – the Hoke County Sheriff's Department raided a Butterball factory farm facility in Shannon, North Carolina, early this morning. MFA will reveal details of the investigation tomorrow morning at news conferences in Charlotte and Raleigh, NC.

The undercover footage recorded at Butterball reveals:

    Workers violently kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or into transport trucks in full view of company management;
    Employees bashing in the heads of live birds with metal bars, leaving many to slowly suffer and die from their injuries;
    Turkeys covered in flies, living in their own waste, unable to access food or water and suffering from severe feather loss and necrotic (dead) muscles and skin;
    Birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries, including open sores, infections, rotting eyes, and broken bones; and
    Severely injured turkeys, unable to stand up or walk, left to die without any veterinary care, because treating sick or injured birds was too costly and time consuming, as the farm manager explained to MFA's investigator.


After viewing the undercover video, veterinarian Dr. Debra Teachout said, "A culture of blatant and severe animal mistreatment has been allowed to flourish unchecked [at Butterball], and for that reason, this facility should be shut down immediately."

As this investigation illustrates, the lives of turkeys in Butterball's factory farms are 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 subjects countless turkeys to immeasurable cruelty and neglect each year.

"Butterball is guilty of extreme animal abuse and should be held criminally accountable," said MFA's Executive Director Nathan Runkle. "Before ending up in restaurants and grocery stores, our investigation shows turkeys killed for Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, neglected to die from festering, bloody wounds, and thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers."

Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/29/4150970/butterball-raided-by-sheriff-for.html#storylink=cpy

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