Hidden-camera video secretly shot at a North Carolina Butterball factory farm by a Mercy For Animals undercover investigator has led to even more criminal convictions of Butterball workers. Earlier today, defendants Terry Johnson and Billy McBride were found guilty of animal cruelty after a bench trial before Judge John H. Horne, Jr.
In late 2012, Butterball workers Brian Douglas and Ruben Mendoza were also convicted of criminal cruelty to animals arising out of the same investigation. Douglas's conviction marks the first-ever felony conviction for cruelty to factory-farmed poultry in US history.
All four convictions stem from an MFA undercover investigation at a Butterball turkey semen collection facility in Shannon, North Carolina, in November and December of 2011. See the video below:
MFA's undercover video shows that the lives of turkeys in Butterball's factory farms are brutal and filled with fear, violence, and prolonged suffering. Butterball's 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. Due to the company's lack of meaningful animal welfare policies, training, or procedures, Butterball subjects countless turkeys to immeasurable cruelty and neglect each year.
"This latest round of criminal convictions against Butterball workers demonstrates that an ongoing pattern of animal cruelty and neglect was allowed to flourish at this inhumane factory farm. As the convictions pile up, it leaves no doubt that turkeys raised and killed by Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, neglected to die from infected, bloody wounds, or thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers," said MFA's executive director Nathan Runkle. "Consumers should know that the secret ingredient in Butterball turkeys is illegal animal abuse."
Mercy For Animals praises the Hoke County district attorney's office and sheriff's department for their swift and decisive action in pursuing justice in this important matter. These convictions should send a clear message to the turkey industry that animal abuse will not be tolerated.