For the first time in U.S. history, former factory-farm workers are facing felony cruelty-to-animals charges for abusing birds! Last fall, an undercover investigor from PETA caught workers at Aviagen Turkeys in West Virginia stomping on turkeys, beating them, twisting the birds’ necks, and more. (One of the men indicted even mimicked raping a turkey hen whom he had pinned against the floor. Video footage can be seen on www.GoVeg.com.)
As a result of PETA’s investigation, Aviagen Turkeys Inc., the self-professed “world’s leading poultry breeding company,” fired at least three of the abusive employees, and a Greenbrier County, W.Va. grand jury just recently indicted those three former workers on 19 animal abuse charges–11 of the counts are felony offenses! Each felony charge is punishable by one to five years in jail and a fine of $1,000 to $5,000. The eight misdemeanor indictments are punishable by up to six-month jail sentences, a fine of $300 to $2,000, or both.
No matter what the outcome, this is a precednt-setting victory for factory-farmed birds. The abuse documented at Aviagen Turkeys is typical in factory farms around the globe. More than 9 billion birds are bred and killed for food each year in the U.S. alone; they’re perhaps the most commonly abused of all factory farmed animals. Unlike cows, pigs, and sheep; turkeys, chickens and other birds are not even protected under the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. Previous PETA investigations have led to felony charges for cruel pig-farm workers, but never before has a factory farm employee been given anything more than a slap on the wrist for abusing birds.
This case should help convince other turkery farm workers that there are consequences for abusing birds. It should also remind consumers just how horrific–and rampant–turkey abuse is, and that the only surefire way to avoid supporting such cruelty is to leave birds off of your grocery list.