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Undercover at a Butterball Turkey Plant

A just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) investigation of a Butterball turkey slaughterhouse in Ozark, Arkansas—which was spurred by a PETA undercover investigation at the facility in 2006—has confirmed PETA's findings of intentional and routine cruelty to animals. The USDA's investigation confirms what PETA's investigators documented: Workers punched, kicked, stomped on, and otherwise tormented turkeys.

The USDA report confirms the following:

  • Employees intentionally and repeatedly injured or killed birds by kicking, punching, throwing, or stepping on them.
  • One worker saw other workers bash live turkeys against trucks, shackles, and the floor. He recalled seeing approximately 200 birds whose necks had been broken or who had been decapitated in one day alone.
  • Birds' wings were often injured or broken because the birds were roughly yanked out of transport cages.
  • The abuses documented in PETA's undercover video were "typical of what [one Butterball slaughterhouse worker] had observed working in the live hang department for the past five years."

Because no federal law protects chickens and turkeys slaughtered for food, no federal charges could be pursued for the cruelty to animals exposed by PETA and confirmed by the USDA's own findings. Even with overwhelming evidence, the local prosecutor declined to charge Butterball for cruelty to animals under Arkansas state law. Despite knowledge of this abuse, Butterball has failed to switch to a slaughter method that would prevent most of the abuse from happening: controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK). CAK is a process in which birds are killed with inert gas, which is far less cruel than Butterball's current killing method, which allows workers to sadistically abuse live animals and for birds to be scalded to death in defeathering tanks while they are still conscious.

Warning: This video is extremely graphic.

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It is up to compassionate people like you to demand that Butterball improve its treatment of animals. Please use the form below to tell Butterball's executives to act now to stop the worst abuses of turkeys and implement CAK.

Personalized letters always work best. Feel free to use the following text, but your message will carry more weight if you write your own customized message and subject line.

Send this message to:

  • B. Keith Shoemaker

Dear [Decision Maker],

I was shocked to hear that two years after PETA found horrible animal abuse at a Butterball slaughterhouse in Arkansas, you still refuse to adopt controlled-atmosphere killing (CAK), which would have prevented all the cruelty documented there and confirmed by the USDA's own investigation. Please do the right thing and immediately announce a timeline to quickly switch all Butterball slaughterhouses to CAK and halt the worst abuses of turkeys.

Sincerely,
[Your Name]

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