An undercover investigation from Mercy for Animals Canada has revealed some unsettling cruelty at a turkey farm in Ontario. The footage shows the birds being kicked, thrown, and beaten by farm workers, as well as the presence of gruesome open wounds and filthy pens. The footage was turned over to CBC Marketplace.
“This was the worst abuse I’ve ever seen inflicted on an animal,” the undercover worker who shot the footage toldMarketplace co-host Erica Johnson.
The video also shows an incident where a euthanasia tool had failed and a worker took it upon himself to beat a turkey with several objects, including a shovel, over several minutes. Workers were found repeatedly choking turkeys and crushing their spines. Some of the birds’ open wounds had become so infected that they were festering.
This turkey farm is owned and operated by Hybrid Turkeys, a company that produces 90% of the turkeys consumed in Canada. The powers that be at Hybrid claim that they’re horrified by the footage, but insist it is “an isolated incident.”
“As soon as we had evidence that this was going on in the barn, we took immediate action and we suspended the employees that were involved, because they were not adhering to our welfare practices, and zero tolerance for us means zero tolerance,” said Helen Wojcinski, a spokesperson for Hybrid Turkeys. “We feel this is an isolated incident. Employees have been trained. They know what they’re supposed to do. There is obviously a lapse. There’s been a mistake made here.”
An isolated incident that involved four employees, including a supervisor.
Following this investigation, MFA Canada have filed a complaint with Ontario Provincial Police, which has launched a criminal investigation. The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is also investigating.
“There’s a gaping hole in the system with regard to monitoring and inspection of these farms across Canada,” said Geoff Urton with the B.C. SPCA. “There’s not much being done right now and it’s a major concern. Ultimately, there should be some kind of proactive inspection and monitoring compliance system in Canada. Otherwise, how can anybody know how these animals are being treated?”
Urton said that if it weren’t for undercover investigators, or “whistleblowers,” animal cruelty on farms would remain behind locked doors.
MFA’s full investigation will air tonight, Friday, at 8PM on CBC Television in an episode titled, “The Trouble With Turkeys.”
You can keep cruelty off of your dining room table by choosing animal-free meals. Opting for vegan meals as much as possible means less animals, like these turkeys in Ontario, have to suffer. For more information on a plant-based diet that’s good for you, helps animals, and is better for the environment, check out Mercy for Animals website.
Photo credit: Mercy for Animals Canada / Facebook.com / CBC Marketplace