The animal rights advocacy group, Mercy For Animals, released video today of a second investigation into Butterball. According to an email from the group’s public relations representative, the investigator uncovered workers abusing turkeys.
The group released a video last year taken from a Butterball facility located in Shannon, N.C. (Hoke County). An investigation into that footage led to the animal cruelty charges of five employees. Two months ago, one of those, Brian Douglas, pled guilty to a class H felonous animal cruelty charge.
The new footage, taken in October of this year, shows workers at other facilities kicking and stomping on birds. It is unclear which facilities are included in the video, but MFA’s public relations representative said more than one facility is involved.
In an official statement from a Butterball spokesperson, the company said it takes all allegations of animal mistreatment 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.”
The animal care guidelines used by Butterball were developed by the National Turkey Federation and approved by experts in the field, including Dr. Joy Mench at University of California at Davis, Dr. Janice Swanson from Michigan State University and Dr. Gail Golab at the American Veterinary Medical Association.
“When we learn of any instances of animal mistreatment, we take immediate corrective action to suspend workers involved, conduct a swift investigation and terminate their employment with the company. Upon learning of these new concerns, we immediately initiated an internal investigation and suspended the associates in question,” the spokesperson said. “Pending the completion of that investigation, Butterball will then make a determination on additional actions including immediate termination for those involved.
“Animal care and well-being is central to the operations of our company, and we remain committed to the ethical and responsible care of our turkey flocks.”
Butterball is headquartered out of Garner and is the largest producer of turkey products in the United States.