HSUS Exposes Cruelty at Largest U.S. Turkey Hatchery

Right on the heels of HSUS’ (Humane Society of the United States) report of battery cage hens at Cal-Maine Factory Farms, another HSUS undercover investigation — this time of turkey poults — is released to the public.

Willmar Poultry Company
(WPC) is the largest turkey hatchery in the U.S., claiming 50% of all turkeys sold in supermarkets come from WPC.  The factory farm produces about 600,000 turkey poults per week.  That’s over 31 million per year.

In October of this year, for eleven days, an HSUS undercover investigator worked at WPC and documented the following:

  • Grinding animals alive daily – Hundreds of sick, deformed, dying and injured birds as well as healthy “leftovers” — excess numbers of healthy poults not sold that day — are killed by being thrown into grinding machines
  • Daily mutilations without pain relief – The ends of the birds’ back toes are cut off with scissors causing conveyor belts and chutes to be blood covered by day’s end.  Their heads are jammed into machines that use hot lasers—with no painkiller—to cause the ends of their beaks to fall off
  • Abandoned birds – Sick and injured poults are tossed into plastic bins or left abandoned and suffering on the floor for hours until they’re thrown down a chute into the jaws of a grinding machine at the end of the day.
  • Sick and injured animals – Poults getting trapped in conveyor belts and machinery is a common occurrence.  Broken and twisted necks, missing and bulging eyes and bleeding wings and legs are the most common injuries.  The injured and deformed poults are tossed into boxes or on the floor and left to suffer for hours before being ground alive.
  • Stacks of boxes full of poults crashed on the floor – When stacked too high or unevenly, towers of boxes containing up to 1,000 living birds tip over and crash on the floor, scattering and possibly crushing dozens of the baby turkeys.

The full HSUS report goes on to state — among other atrocities — their undercover investigator documented what appeared to be a rectal prolapse on one poult who was still alive, where the bleeding rectum was pushed out of the body.

Turkeys use their back toes for balance and ambulation.  Beaks are needed for proper feeding, drinking and preening.  The reason factory farm poults are de-toed and de-beaked is to prevent injury to other turkeys.  Why?  Because when living in such an unnaturally close proximity turkeys will result to cannibalism. 

Wouldn’t it be more humane to give the turkeys enough space to live a normal life before being sent to slaughter?  Of course — but that would cut into profits.  Go vegan.

UPDATE: A concerned Care2 member started a petition.  Take action by signing.

Flickr: Gare and Kitty

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Terry V.
Terry V.2 years ago


Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Xil L.
Xil L.3 years ago

stop turkey, foi gras and eat only freerange if you are to eat meat.

Amber M.
Amber Beasley4 years ago

I would never eat turkey or any other animal, EVER. I've been a vegetarian since I was 8 years old.

Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle4 years ago

I became a vegetarian for animal rights reasons, not health reasons, though I am a lot healthier now. It is the wave of the future. Factory farms are not only cruel to animals, but they pollute our land. In the future, though you may not believe it, ALL will become vegetarians, because of the methane pollution of our land, water and air. People in the future will look back on how we treated other lives as inhumane and abhorrent.

Joy Jin
Joy Jin4 years ago

I'm trying. I haven't eaten any turkey for thanksgiving!

Kaz F.
Kaz F.4 years ago

couldnt read all it s sick im veggie for yrs now but did like meat. but wud never touch it again .......why cant people care where their food comes from, your nearly as bad, eating meat an not giving a damn where its from as long as you dont see anything......or its cheap.

Tori W.
Past Member 4 years ago

normally..it's just the sick video i can't watch...but this time..i couldn't even read the report...yep..i'm done with turkey...of any type any where....this is really sick..disgusting, and vile...

Ritva J.
Ritva J.4 years ago

This is heartbreaking. Factory farming is truly disgusting.

Lori H.
Lori H.4 years ago

pure disgust!!! heartbroken