Just in Time for Thanksgiving: More Cruelty at Butterball Turkey Farms

Undercover video footage released by Mercy for Animals (MFA) last week has once again exposed heartbreaking cruelty on five Butterball turkey farms in North Carolina… just in time for Thanksgiving.

Last December, MFA released a disturbing video of turkeys being abused at a Butterball factory farm in Shannon, N.C., that led to a raid and the first felony convictions for cruelty to birds used in agriculture. One worker received 30 days in jail and was fined $550.

This time around, undercover footage taken this fall shows workers kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their wings and necks, slamming them into transport cages and leaving others to suffer illnesses, injuries and infections untreated.

“These behaviors are cruel, inhumane, and injurious to the birds,” said Dr. Greg Burkett, poultry welfare scientist and adjunct professor of avian medicine and surgery at North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine. “I am appalled at the disrespect these workers have toward the lives of other living creatures.”

Butterball, the largest turkey producer in the U.S., is conducting an internal investigation and released a statement claiming it has a zero tolerance policy on animal cruelty.

Butterball is aware of the video released today by Mercy for Animals, and we take any allegations of animal mistreatment very seriously. As has been our long-standing policy, 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.

Even without suffering from blatant cruelty, factory farmed turkeys still suffer from the effects of our “progress” in industrialized farming. MFA explains that “while wild turkeys are sleek, agile, and able to fly, Butterball’s turkeys have been selectively bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks.”

“Consumers have a right to know how turkeys are treated at Butterball, before they end up as their Thanksgiving dinner,” Matt Rice, director of the investigation for MFA, said in a statement. “And I think that most people care about animals, even animals that are raised and killed for food.”

MFA is encouraging people to enjoy a cruelty-free Thanksgiving. Here are some animal-friendly recipes for the holiday season.

Trigger warning: the video below contains violence towards animals.


Related Stories:

Abuse at Butterball Turkey Factory Farm

They’re All Bill and Lou

Extreme Cruelty Revealed at Walmart Pork Supplier


Photo credit: Thinkstock


Phyl M.
Pho M.3 years ago

Why does this cruelty have to continue? And go unpunished?

Barbara Nawara
Barb Novorr3 years ago

One worker received 30 days in jail and was fined $550.NOT ENOUGH!!

Heartbreaking, more penalties are needed. These factory farms attract some pretty undesirable characters, the above conviction is a step in the right direction.

Manel Dias
Manel Dias3 years ago

Those evil people who abuse, inflict and brutalizes these innocent animals should suffer the Hell On Earth before they die.

Carol Crunkhorn
Caroline Burton3 years ago

The answer is so simple it escapes the majority of people, but if we all stop eating turkeys and every other living creature, we will save them from the horrors of the factory farm and the slaughterhouse. Plus, we will save ourselves from the many diseases that are related to eating meat and dairy foods. Save the animals, save the planet, save ourselves, go vegan!

Sheri D.
Sheri D.3 years ago

Poor animals! People can be so disgusting. If everyone would just stop eating turkey for Thanksgiving (or any other time), this madness would stop.

Katherine Wright
Katherine Wright3 years ago

Disgusting that this is still going on. Why can't these hellholes be shut down and STAY shut down???? One worker gets 30 days nd a fine of $550.00???? That's all???? Is this a joke????

When are people going to start taking animal abuse, torture and murder seriously????
Good god people, get some compassion and humanity into your cold hearts.

Carrie Anne Brown

thanks for sharing

rene davis
irene davis4 years ago

One worker received 30 days in jail and was fined $550.

Heartbreaking, more penalties are needed. These factory farms attract some pretty undesirable characters, the above conviction is a step in the right direction.

Beth M.
Beth M.4 years ago

Butterball needs to do more than just terminate employees who abuse turkeys. How about reporting them to the proper authorities, too. A "normal" person does not abuse any animal.

Danuta Watola
Danuta Watola4 years ago

Thank you for information