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Abuse at Butterball Turkey Factory Farm

Abuse at Butterball Turkey Factory Farm
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Mercy for Animals (MFA) is well known for its undercover investigations of animal abuse and cruelty at factory farms.  For three weeks between November and December 2011, an undercover investigator filmed egregious acts of cruelty and abuse of turkeys at a Butterball semen collection farm in Shannon, North Carolina.

Domestic turkeys bred for human consumption are genetically engineered to grow so large and so fast they cannot reproduce normally; hence, the semen farms.  This biological manipulation also results in bone and joint deformities as well as fatal heart attacks.

Wild turkeys are agile; they can fly and partake in normal turkey behaviors like frolicking, leg stretching and dust-bathing.  Butterball turkeys can’t — even if they were allotted the space to do so.

“Turkeys are fully capable of feeling pain, fear, stress and of suffering, and the way they are treated in the video is clearly abusive,” said Dr. Sara Shields, research scientist, poultry specialist and consultant in animal welfare.  Care2 blogger Mac McDaniel wrote about a study that found chickens can feel empathy. Surely, that finding can be extrapolated to turkeys.

The Raid

MFA filed a formal complaint with Hoke County District Attorney against Butterball resulting in a warrant and raid that occurred on Thursday, December 29 at the Butterball facility in Shannon. The complaint cited North Carolina law allowing animal abuse to be prosecuted as a felony.

“The [North Carolina] anti-cruelty statute provides that if any person shall maliciously kill, or cause or procure to be killed, any animal by intentional deprivation of necessary sustenance, that person shall be guilty of a Class H felony.  If any person shall maliciously torture, mutilate, maim, cruelly beat, disfigure, poison, or kill, or cause or procure to be tortured, mutilated, maimed, cruelly beaten, disfigured, poisoned, or killed, any animal, every such offender shall for every such offense be guilty of a Class H felony.”

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Photos of Butterball Factory Farm by Mercy for Animals

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10:40AM PST on Dec 23, 2014

The only way to avoid this is to go vegan.

5:03AM PST on Nov 27, 2013

They murder the animals and it surprises people that it's done in an inhumane way? That would be like people saying "I'm okay with a rape factory, but abuse at a rape factory, that's just terrible." Rape and Murder are both abuse, so it's illogical to say that that is not abuse in and of itself. There is no humane meat factory.

12:46AM PDT on Sep 30, 2013

I eat meat, including eggs but I do not touch any kind that has been caged in. I think it is terrible and its inhumane

1:19PM PDT on Sep 29, 2013


7:54AM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

Butterball..We as consumers have the right to see what happens from start to finish in your slaughterhouses. Shame on you. YOU SUCK!!

7:11AM PDT on Sep 29, 2013

Butterball, YOU SUCK

5:56AM PDT on Apr 15, 2013


10:53AM PST on Jan 7, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

11:28AM PST on Nov 25, 2012

I can fix that fast!
I will not Buy Butterball!!
Anybody else???

5:59AM PST on Nov 22, 2012

Animals and small children are completely dependent on humans for their care. What would God say to these men who are beating these poor turkeys who are obviously in great pain? Why do humans have to be so cruel. Thank you for bringing this to light as I live in North Carolina and just say part of the video and had to turn it off. I believe that people that treat animals like this should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

It takes great bravery to uncover people like this so God Bless You for doing so and fish is a great substitute for chicken or turkey for Thanksgiving!

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