Tyson Fires Employees Linked To Graphic Video Of Abused Chickens

Image courtesy of Chris Goldberg

Tyson Foods, the largest chicken-processing company in the U.S., fired 10 employees after an animal rights group secretly taped workers at four Virginia processing plants mistreating and abusing chickens.

Compassion Over Killing, a Washington-based animal-advocacy organization, recently released a video recorded in May and June showing employees at the four plants throwing, punching, and kicking chickens, The Chicago Tribune reports.

“I’m disgusted and outraged by what’s shown in this video,” Christine Daugherty, vice president of sustainable food production for Tyson Foods, said in a statement. “We do not tolerate animal abuse. . . . The people shown in the video by Compassion Over Killing were all trained in proper animal handling, yet chose to ignore it and failed to alert management about the despicable treatment on these farms.”

The company goes on to say the actions are “inexcusable.”

Compassion Over Killing, which has undertaken undercover investigations in the past, called the abuse seen in the video “egregious,” and a violation of Virginia state animal protection laws.

“The company should be held accountable – and consumers deserve to know the truth about the horrors inflicted upon these animals,” Erica Meier, the organization’s executive director, said in a statement. “Tyson, the titan of this industry, is literally crushing the life out of birds.”

In addition to throwing, punching, and kicking chickens, the video shows employees wringing birds’ necks, run over them with forklifts and left injured birds in piles to die, and using a process called boning — sticking plastic rods through the beaks of some birds, the Tribune reports.

Daugherty, with Tyson, says the company has discontinued boning at two facilities featured in the video, while the other two had previously stopped using the tactic.

“Animals in our care deserve to be treated humanely,” she said.

In addition to the changes being made at the facilities, the Tribune reports that county officials in Virginia have opened investigations into at least two of the plants.

Animal control officials in Mecklenburg and Buckingham counties, where three of the plants are located, confirmed they are investigating the allegations. Lunenberg County, where the fourth plant is, did not provide comment to the Tribune.

‘You can’t let nobody see’: Graphic video appears to show mistreatment of chickens by Tyson workers [The Chicago Tribune]

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