Six employees at a North Carolina Butterball factory are facing criminal charges because of a leaked undercover video recorded by animal rights activists.
Butterball is one of the nation’s largest poultry processors, responsible for the production of 20 percent of American turkeys. According to animal rights activists, Butterball’s success is linked to a corporate culture of brutality. According to the executive director of Mercy for Animals, the animal rights group that shot the video, “Butterball allowed a culture of cruelty and abuse to fester at its company-owned factory farms.”
The video in question is shocking. It depicts Butterball employees kicking and stomping birds and dragging them by their necks and wings.
More disturbing to the animal rights activists was the complicity of local authorities. A veterinarian at the North Carolina Department of Agriculture pled guilty to obstruction of justice after alerting friends at the Butterball factory of impending police raids.
“It is deeply troubling that a governmental agency that is entrusted with monitoring and overseeing agriculture and food production is so corrupt,” said MFA director Nathan Runkle.
The criminal charges and impending trial are sure to reignite debates over criminalizing undercover farm videos. While many farmers argue that these videos are taken out of context, animal rights activists argue that, given the culture of silence in this factory and the complicity of local authorities, activists cannot rely on traditional methods of investigation.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer