Investigations took place on 10 different Plainville Farms supplying turkeys to Whole Foods, Publix, and Harris Teeter.
An undercover investigation led by vegan charity PETA has exposed the ‘abject cruelty’ at farms that supply ‘humanely-raised’ turkeys to retailers like Whole Foods, Publix, and Harris Teeter.
Workers were videotaped stomping, kicking, and punching birds by a PETA investigator who gathered footage at 10 different Plainville Farms across Pennsylvania between 15 July and 3 August, New York Post reported.
Plainville Farms is “certified” by Global Animal Partnership (GAP) – one of the largest animal welfare food labelling programs in North America – and claims ‘humane treatment is the heart of our business’ on its website.
According to the company, turkeys it exploits are ‘free from harm’. They are raised in a stress-free environment and the same level of care is taken to ensure their transport is ‘comfortable’ and ‘stress-free’.
However, footage gathered by PETA’s investigator while working on crews that load turkeys onto slaughterhouse-bound trucks, showed that every night, at every farm, workers brutally kicked and stomped on the birds, including those who were sick, injured, and unable to walk.
One crew position is even called the ‘kick’ because the worker’s main job is to ‘give turkeys a boot when they don’t move,’ PETA said.
The covert evidence also showed how “two workers threw birds at one another for fun, and one held a garbage bag open like a basketball hoop to toss the birds into”.
PETA said: “Workers hit turkeys with an iron bar and stood on their heads. They choked, throttled, wrung, and snapped the birds’ necks before tossing them aside or dropping them to the floor. Still alive, the turkeys convulsed and were left to die in intense pain.”
One clip even captured a man simulating masturbation with a nearly dead bird.
‘The only humane meal is a vegan one’
PETA reported its findings to Pennsylvania State Police and urged Plainville Farms’ acting president, Tom Donovan, to terminate the abusive workers
It also demanded that GAP drastically change its certification program and prohibit labelling designed to deceive customers as well as called on Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Publix to investigate its suppliers.
Tracy Reiman is the Executive Vice President at PETA. She said: “Every turkey sandwich represents the pain and fear of a gentle bird who wasn’t shown any kindness in his or her miserable life.
“PETA reminds kind consumers that the only ‘humane’ meal is a vegan one, and we are ready to help them with their transition.”
Reviewing the footage GAP told New York Post that they “condemn the unacceptable actions in this video in the strongest terms.”
“Treating any animals this way is appalling, and goes against everything we stand for. We have contacted our third-party certifier to immediately conduct a thorough investigation,” it added.
Plainville Farms also informed the news outlet that an investigation will be conducted to identify the culprits.
“This video is horrific, despicable and goes against everything this company stands for. We have already launched an internal investigation into this incident – from the top down – and if any of our employees were involved, they will be held accountable,” the company said.
“We remain committed to setting the gold standard for the health and well-being of our turkeys, and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal and make sure something like this never happens again.”
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