HomeWorld11 Turkish farm workers accused of cruelty caught on video

11 Turkish farm workers accused of cruelty caught on video

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM Associated Press

Eleven people who work for one of the nation’s top turkey producers have been charged with animal cruelty in Pennsylvania after state police say they were caught on video kicking, stomping and punching turkeys at various farms.

The workers were responsible for catching and packing turkeys destined for slaughter, the Pennsylvania State Police said Thursday. They launched the investigation in August 2021 in response to a complaint from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

A PETA undercover investigator worked with a crew from Plainville Farms for about three weeks and captured graphic video showing workers mistreating birds.

The mistreatment took place on farms in Chester, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Perry and Union counties, police said. A total of 139 charges were filed, including six felony aggravated animal cruelty charges and 76 misdemeanor animal cruelty charges.

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“This was a long and detailed investigation that involved reviewing a large amount of evidence at multiple locations,” said Cpl. Michael Spada, a state police animal cruelty officer.

Plainville advertises its turkeys as “humanely raised,” even though the company has been suspended from an animal welfare and labeling program run by the Global Animal Partnership.

New Oxford, Pennsylvania-based Plainville has “zero tolerance for anything resembling the alleged actions of these former employees,” said Matt Goodson, the company’s chief executive. The company fired the employees implicated in the abuse, began using still and body cameras during the capture process and took other steps to prevent a recurrence, he said.

“Plainville remains committed to the highest welfare standards for our animals and customers. We believe it is important that incidents like this come to light to challenge our industry to do better,” he said in a statement on Thursday.

The company’s turkey products are sold in supermarket chains such as Publix and Wegners.

Plainville employs about 600 workers and slaughtered about 90 million live pounds of turkey last year, according to WATT PoultryUSA, a trade publication.

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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