A new undercover investigation has found multiple instances of severe animal cruelty on ‘humane’ turkey farms in Pennsylvania. The farms supply meat to major grocers like Whole Foods, Publix, and Harris Teeter.
Animal rights organization PETA conducted the investigation, which featured 10 different Plainville Farms in Pennsylvania.
Between July 15 and August 3, an undercover PETA agent filmed workers at the farm punching, slapping, kicking, and stomping on the birds. Others hit the animals with metal rods.
One clip showed a worker pretending to masturbate with a dying turkey.
“A worker picks a bird up, tries to break her neck and then puts her between his legs. Holding her by her injured neck he mimics masturbation,” the video’s narrator says.
“Then drops her on the floor, kicks her, and leaves her to die.”
The behavior was not a one-off. “Every night at every farm the crew worked at, the investigator saw catchers repeatedly and viciously kick and stomp on dozens of turkeys, many of them sick, injured, weak or even too lame to stand up,” the video says.
Workers pick up the turkeys by the neck or a wing and throw them at each other and other birds ‘like it’s a game’. Others tried to break the turkeys’ necks by shaking them by the throats.
“Dead and dying turkeys can be seen every night on every farm. They receive no treatment for illness or injury but instead are left to die slowly and in pain.”
When the PETA investigator did not participate in the abuse, a supervisor and other workers ‘berated’ him. They added that he should ‘get a new job’ because he wasn’t doing things the ‘right’ way.
The New York Post wrote about the investigation, calling the footage ‘horrifying’. The publication reported that PETA has filed a complaint with the PSP animal cruelty office, which is reviewing evidence.
Plainville Farms is certified by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), which is one of the largest animal welfare food labeling programs in North America.
“We believe that meaningful label claims, validated by third-party farm audits, are key to influencing the industry, raising consumer expectations, and creating long-lasting change,” the GAP website reads.
Plainville Farms writes on its website that its turkeys are ‘raised by dedicated family farmers’.
Its practices promote the ‘health and well-being’ of the turkeys. Further, Plainville Farms claims that its flocks are kept in a ‘stress-free environment in accordance with our highest standards’.