Mercy For Animals (MFA) has become known for their undercover investigations of factory farms and thought-provoking ad campaigns. Now, an investigation at a North Carolina Butterball turkey farm has led to a raid of the facility by law enforcement.
According to MFA, the investigation took place over November and December of 2011 at a Butterball factory farm used to collect semen from the turkeys for breeding. Their investigator recorded video of horrific abuse, including “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.” The list continues, and many of the turkeys were left to die, a situation of which management was reportedly aware. “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.”
The police raid took place in the morning on December 29th. According to ABC News, North Carolina officials raided the facility after a complaint was filed with the Hoke County District Attorney. Butterball, the largest producer of turkey in the United States, has over 2,000 turkeys at the NC factory farm, and the birds will all be inspected by the Hoke County Sheriff’s Department investigators. Independent vets will be determining which birds should be euthanized.
Butterball has claimed that they have a “zero tolerance policy for any mistreatment of our birds” and their “number one priority is to provide for the health and well being of our birds in order to produce safe and nutritious product for consumers.” Meanwhile, MFA President/Founder Nathan Runkle says their video evidence has proven otherwise. “Our investigation showed this is a pattern of abuse and neglect and that Butterball has failed miserably to prevent egregious animal abuse from occurring on its factory farm,” he said according to USA Today.
This is not the first time Butterball has been investigated for animal cruelty. Among the organizations to document the company’s treatment of its turkeys is PETA, which has said “Mercy For Animals’ findings mirror those uncovered during PETA’s 2006 undercover investigation of a Butterball slaughterhouse in Arkansas…The abuse documented by PETA and Mercy For Animals is apparently business as usual for Butterball and the turkey industry.”