Another Thanksgiving, another controversy starring its big bird, the turkey. An animal advocacy group is leveling claims at Butterball again, accusing the turkey-centric company of abusing and neglecting birds at some of its locations. Tis the season, after all, and no one wants their main course to come from an unhappy turkey.
Mercy For Animals, which also accused Butterball of turkey cruelty last year, said it had operated undercover in several Butterball facilities in North Carolina, and come up with evidence of cruelty and neglect.
The hidden camera footage reportedly shows turkeys being thrown and dragged by their wings and necks and kicked on the ground with open sores, reports the Los Angeles Times.
Butterball addressed the claims in a statement saying it takes “any allegations of animal mistreatment very seriously” and that it has “a zero tolerance policy for animal abuse”:
“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 company said. “Pending the completion of that investigation, Butterball will then make a determination on additional actions including immediate termination for those involved.”
After last year’s investigation by Mercy for Animals, health officials raided a Butterbally turkey facility in North Carolina, and five employees received felony and misdemeanor animal cruelty charges as a result.
Butterball will likely have to work pretty quickly to investigate this time, as Thanksgiving is only about a week away and there are many turkeys to be purchased. While some consumers might not care where their food comes from or how it’s treated, there are plenty more who wouldn’t want to support a company accused of mistreating food animals.
Butterball again accused of Thanksgiving turkey abuse [Los Angeles Times]