RALEIGH — Mercy for Animals, the same group that released undercover video of alleged abuse at a Butterball plant in Hoke County late last year, claims it has found more abuse at Butterball plants in North Carolina, according to WTVD.
The group made the claim at a news conference in Raleigh on Tuesday.
In a video posted to www.Butterballabuse.com, the video appears to show workers kicking birds and picking them up and throwing them by their wings.
The organization did not say where the video was shot, however did say the alleged abuse happened at Butterball plants in North Carolina.
Butterball is the world’s largest producer of turkey meat and is responsible for 30 percent of the turkeys killed for Thanksgiving in the United States.
In December 2011, Mercy for Animals published similar hidden camera video that it said was recorded at a Butterball Turkey facility near Shannon, N.C. The video showed workers appearing to kick and stomp turkeys.
Following an investigation, Hoke County deputies arrested several employees and charged them with animal cruelty.
After the 2011 case, Butterball said it was re-evaluating its animal care and started new initiatives.
The company released the following statement Wednesday addressing the allegations:
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. Butterball’s guidelines are based on guidelines developed by the National Turkey Federation that have been approved by animal well-being experts 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, among others.
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. 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.