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Hidden Camera Leads to Raid of Butterball Turkey Farm for Animal Cruelty

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Hidden Camera Leads to Raid of Butterball Turkey Farm for Animal Cruelty

>As you happily enjoy eating turkey at Christmas time, have you ever thought about the circumstances and conditions of the turkey that you are merrily munching on may have been subjected to?

Whilst the majority of meat eaters tend to adopt an “out of sight, out of mind” attitude as they enjoy eating the meat in front of them, at the same time people subconsciously hope that the bird or animal being consumed was bred under ethical circumstances.

Therefore, when a report is distributed about turkeys being beaten, dragged and left to die with bloody open wounds and infections at a turkey farm, those subconscious fears about animals being neglected and raised in appalling conditions are brought to the forefront.

At the North Carolina Butterball Turkey Farm, the turkeys were subjected to just such horrendous behavior.

Hidden Camera Reveals Turkey Farm Animal Cruelty

According to a report published on PR Newswire, a hidden camera was placed in the turkey factory by an undercover investigator with the animal protection organisation Mercy for Animals (MFA).

The secretly shot footage ultimately led to a full criminal animal cruelty investigation by state authorities.

The undercover footage, which was recorded at Butterball, revealed workers repeatedly and violently kicking and stomping the turkeys, bashing their heads with metal bars, throwing them into transport trucks or onto the ground, and dragging them by their delicate necks and wings.

The video footage revealed that the birds at the farm suffered more than simply violent misconduct. The press release issued by MFA also exposed that the birds were often covered in flies, living in their own feces without any food or water, were suffering from infections, broken bones, rotting eyes and dead muscles and skin, and left to die from their injuries.


Veterinary Care Too Expensive

The undercover investigator also reported that the farm’s manager had explained that the turkeys did not receive treatment and were left to die because veterinary care was too expensive and time consuming.

After witnessing the undercover footage, veterinarian Dr. Debra Teachout, told reporters:

“A culture of blatant and severe animal misconduct has been allowed to flourish unchecked [at Butterball], and for that reason, this facility should be shut down immediately.”

Reiterating Dr.Teachout’s views about the blatant animal cruelty occurring at Butterball, Nathan Runkle, the MFA’s Executive Director, also added his perspective to the press release:

“Butterball is guilty of extreme animal abuse and should be held criminally accountable. Before ending up in restaurants and grocery stores, our investigation shows turkeys killed for Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, neglected to die from festering, bloody wounds, and thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers.”

While wild turkeys grow agile and are able to fly, Butterball turkeys have been selectively bred to grow large at an abnormally quick rate, which, according to ABC News, means that many of the turkeys suffer from bone defects and deformities of the foot and leg, and can even suffer fatal heart attacks.

The horrendous footage shot from the undercover investigation led to a raid by the Hoke County Sherriff’s Department.


Largest Turkey Producer in the U.S.

The North Carolina Butterball factory farm is the largest turkey producer in the U.S.  According to ABC News, the one farm accounts for 20% of the total production of turkeys in the U.S.

It churns out large and plump turkeys quickly in order to sell them in the thousands. This is obviously the Butterball factory farm’s main objective, which unfortunately led to unethical animal welfare practices.

Shortly after the raid had begun at the Butterball factory farm, Butterball released a statement stating that it was conducting its own investigation into the allegations and that it,

“…takes these allegations very seriously and fully supports the efforts being made on the part of the officials. Butterball has a zero tolerance policy for any mistreatment of our birds by any associate.”

Although the company implied that the horrendous mistreatment was just carried out by a group of Butterball workers, that claim is not corroborated by the undercover video footage, which revealed that the violent abuse of the turkeys often took place in full view of company management.

The investigation into the maltreatment of the turkeys at the North Carolina factory remains on-going.

Meanwhile, Americans that might have enjoyed a big, fat turkey this holiday season are left wondering whether the turkey they consumed was one of those bred at the North Carolina Butterball factory farm.

You can watch the full undercover video at

Image Credits:

(1) docoverachiever via Compfight cc
(2) NineInchNachosIII via Compfight cc
(3) decade_resister via Compfight cc

Originally published on

Corruption and Crime

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