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Butterball accused of turkey cruelty in video

November 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Butterball, the largest turkey producer in the country, is facing serious accusations of animal abuse after an undercover video surfaced Wednesday.

The footage shows turkeys tossed into cages. Some are kicked around. Some of the video shows birds with what appear to be open sores. Workers are heard saying they have seen turkeys with maggots.

The animal rights group Mercy for Animals said the video was recorded in October at five different Butterball facilities in North Carolina.

"Birds were suffering from serious, untreated illnesses and injuries, including broken bones, infections and open sores," said Matt Rice of Mercy for Animals.

Butterball supplies 1/3 of the 46 million turkeys shipped for the Thanksgiving holiday.

The company issued a statement Wednesday saying, "Upon learning of these new concerns, we immediately initiated an internal investigation and suspended the associates in question. We have a zero tolerance policy for animal abuse. Any employee found to have violated our animal care and well-being guidelines, as well as any employee who witnessed abuse and failed to report it, will be terminated."

Mercy for Animals said the allegations were identical to what they found a year ago. The group said video from last December also showed workers kicking and stomping turkeys. After an investigation, North Carolina authorities arrested several employees and charged them with animal cruelty.

Mercy for Animals said it sent the new video to law enforcement in North Carolina and filed a complaint asking for animal cruelty charges against Butterball.


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