Butterball’s poor training and pay for turkey farm workers is a ‘recipe for disaster,’ says Mercy for Animals

Butterball is “incapable of preventing egregious animal abuse at its factory farm facilities,” says animal protection group. / Photo: Mercy for Animals

By Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

“Butterball expects a few untrained workers to move thousands of crippled turkeys into transport trucks, and pays workers by the load, not the hour,” Director of Investigations Matt Rice told Animal Policy Examiner in an email interview this week. [Please see full interview below.] “It is a recipe for disaster, and as our investigation proves, it results in horrific suffering for thousands of animals at the hands of Butterball workers.” Read the rest of this entry »

Undercover video again catches Butterball workers severely abusing turkeys, says Mercy for Animals

Butterball turkey, one of many allegedly abused by the company’s workers / Photo: Mercy for Animals

By Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, animal protection group said it conducted its second undercover video investigation of and found much the same that it did earlier this year—severe and extremely unappetizing abuse and neglect of the birds.

Scene after scene of the shot in October shows workers at various North Carolina farms operated by the world’s largest producer of turkey meat kicking, stomping on, and violently throwing the animals whose meat will soon sit on millions of Americans’ plates.

Many turkeys are filmed as they bleed and suffer from various injuries and wounds including broken bones and punctured eyes, with no veterinary attention, simply “left to die,” according to the narration. Read the rest of this entry »

Bloody, 10-foot-tall mock pig will star in animal welfare protest outside Walmart tomorrow

By Katerina Lorenzatos Makris

Female pig lies in gestation crate for much of her life / Photo: Mercy for Animals

is big—reportedly the biggest retailer, the biggest employer, and the third biggest public corporation on the planet—and at its doorstep tomorrow animal activists plan to show that size matters.

(MFA) will use a 10-foot tall replica of a caged pig, “bloody with sores,” in what it predicts will be a “traffic-stopping” protest outside one of the company’s Los Angeles megastores.

“Walmart pork suppliers are guilty of horrific cruelty to animals,” said Mercy For Animals’ national campaign coordinator Phil Letten in a media release. “Pork sold in Walmart stores comes from pigs who are abused, neglected, and sentenced to lives of extreme confinement and deprivation in crates where they can’t even turn around, walk, lie down comfortably, or engage in other natural behaviors. This is blatant animal abuse that no socially responsible corporation should be supporting.”

Piglets castrated with no anesthetic

Last month MFA said it conducted an at Walmart pork supplier Christensen Farms, obtaining video of pregnant female pigs—some of them afflicted by wounds and sores—spending their lives side-by-side in squeeze-tight, fly-infested metal cages known as “gestation crates,” and of workers killing piglets by bashing their heads on the concrete floor, castrating them and hacking off their tails with no anesthetic.

“The larger-than-life protest confronts the grocery chain over the cruel practice of confining pregnant pigs in tiny crates on factory farms where they are unable to even turn around, lie down comfortably, or engage in other basic natural behaviors,” the group explained.

While these practices are widely condemned by animal welfare groups, most of them are legal and approved by the , and as being humane and healthier for the animals.

‘Walmart Tortures Pigs,’ signs will read

MFA members plan to greet Walmart shoppers with signs bearing images of  “abused pigs,” and alleging that “Walmart Tortures Pigs” and “Walmart Pork = Animal Abuse.”

Walmart has drawn the ire of several animal protection groups including MFA who point out that although other big food chains like Kroger, Safeway, Costco, and McDonald’s have required their pork suppliers to phase out the use of narrow crates in pig production, Walmart has not done so.

MFA protest info:

Date: Tuesday, July 31st, 2012
Time: 11 a.m. – 12 noon
Location: Outside Walmart, 4101 Crenshaw Blvd, LA 90008

 Katerina Lorenzatos Makris is a career journalist, author, and editor. Credits include hundreds of articles for regional wire services and for outlets such as National Geographic Traveler, The San Francisco Chronicle, Travelers’ Tales, NBC’s , and Examiner.com (), a teleplay for CBS-TV, a short story for magazine, and 17 novels for Avon, E.P. Dutton, Simon and Schuster, and other major publishers.

Together with coauthor Shelley Frost, Katerina wrote a step-by-step guide for hands-on, in-the-trenches dog rescue, (The Lyons Press).

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