From the day they hatch until they are violently killed, the lives of Butterball turkeys are filled with misery and deprivation.
How do I know? Because I worked undercover at a Butterball turkey hatchery in North Carolina on behalf of Mercy For Animals — a national animal protection charity. At Butterball, I used a hidden camera to document horrors that few people could even imagine, including:
• Baby birds being callously tossed into a macerating machine to be ground up alive
• Workers roughly throwing and dropping newborn animals with no regard for their welfare
• Newly hatched birds regularly getting stuck in and mangled by factory machinery
• Turkeys having their sensitive toes and beaks cut or burned off without any painkillers
Unfortunately, these abuses are merely a sample of the ongoing cruelty and violence that turkeys are forced to endure at Butterball. Previous investigations by Mercy For Animals have exposed Butterball workers violently kicking and throwing turkeys, and bashing in their heads with metal pipes. One such investigation led to a raid of the Butterball factory farm by law enforcement and resulted in multiple criminal cruelty to animals convictions of Butterball workers, including the first-ever felony cruelty conviction related to factory-farmed poultry in U.S. history.
On top of all of this horrific violence, Butterball's turkeys endure selective breeding to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks.
This has got to stop.
Please join me, and Mercy For Animals, in calling on Butterball to end some of the cruelest factory farming practices.
What’s worse is that the suffering of Butterball turkeys starts with their breeding. While wild turkeys are majestic birds, known for their grace, speed, and wit, Butterball turkeys have been selectively bred to grow so large, so quickly, that many of them suffer from painful bone defects, hip joint lesions, crippling foot and leg deformities, and fatal heart attacks.
Clearly, Butterball can do better.
I urge you to begin alleviating the needless cruelty and suffering documented during the Mercy For Animals investigation by implementing meaningful animal welfare policies, including:
- Regular veterinary care for sick and injured birds
- An end to the genetic manipulation of turkeys to promote unnatural weight gain
- Provision of clean bedding, environmental enrichment, and access to sunlight for turkeys
- Installation of cameras in all Butterball facilities, live-streamed to the Internet
- An end to the cruel live-shackle slaughter method and adoption of a less cruel alternative
The animal abuse documented time and again at Butterball factory farms cannot be tolerated by a civilized society. It’s crucial that you take immediate action to prevent this cruelty by implementing these modest, yet important, animal welfare improvements.