Local/State

Undercover Butterball employee speaks out

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The woman who helped spark an investigation into a Butterball turkey farm in Hoke County is speaking out.

A member of the animal rights group Mercy for Animals went undercover as a Butterball employee and shot video of the alleged abuse.

The video shows what the animal rights group claims is widespread abuse of turkeys at the farm.

Mercy for Animals posted an edited clip of its video at the web site www.butterballabuse.com. The video appears to show workers kicking and stomping turkeys. The video also shows injured birds with open wounds.

Sheriff's officials raided the farm Thursday, and they say some of the 2,800 turkeys had to be euthanized.

The undercover employee asked not to be identified but said, "The level of neglect that was apparent at this farm and how widespread the knowledge was - among employees and management was staggering to me. I came to my manager many times. It's all recorded. Every conversation I had was recorded - where I ask my manager is this okay? Is this what we should be seeing? How do I handle this type of situation I'm looking at?"

No charges have been filed against Butterball.

The company said in a statement, "Butterball has a zero tolerance policy for any mistreatment of our birds or the failure to immediately report mistreatment of our birds by any associates. We are performing extensive internal and third-party audits as part of our own investigation. Employees found in violation of Butterball's animal welfare policies will be subject to immediate termination."

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