Dr. Sarah Jean Mason, the director of Animal Health Programs with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, was also arrested last week and pled guilty to obstruction of justice charges after admitting to leaking confidential information to Butterball and potentially compromising the criminal cruelty investigation by state law enforcement officials.
Those arrested include:
- Brian Gerrard Douglas - Felonious Cruelty to Animals
- Ruben Mendoza - Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals, Felonious Obtaining Property by False Pretenses, and Felonious Identity Theft
- Terry Bernard Johnson - Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals
- Ronnie Dlue Jacobs - Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals
- Billy Thomas McBryde - Misdemeanor Cruelty to Animals
- Jose Garcia - Felonious Obtaining Property by False Pretenses and Felonious Identity Theft
- Sarah Jean Mason - Common Law Obstruction of Justice and Resist, Delay and Obstruct for Giving False Statements to Law Enforcement
Hoke County Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said it was likely additional Butterball employees would be charged.
"We're not done," Peterkin said. "There are going to be other charges."
The animal abuse scandal broke after MFA's shocking undercover footage at Butterball revealed:
- Workers violently kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or into transport trucks in full view of company management;
- Employees bashing in the heads of live birds with metal bars, leaving many to slowly suffer and die from their injuries;
- Turkeys covered in flies, living in their own waste, unable to access food or water and suffering from severe feather loss and necrotic (dead) muscles and skin;
- Birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries, including open sores, infections, rotting eyes, and broken bones; and
- Severely injured turkeys, unable to stand up or walk, left to die without any veterinary care, because treating sick or injured birds was too costly and time consuming, as the farm manager explained to MFA's investigator.
Watch the undercover investigation into Butterball here:
While it is encouraging that these individual animal abusers have been brought to justice, it is important to point out that Butterball facilitated this abuse by creating a culture of cruelty and neglect at its factory farms.
While MFA works to expose and hold people who abuse animals accountable for their crimes, consumers can help prevent the needless suffering of turkeys and other animals by adopting a compassionate vegan diet.