An investigator for animal rights group Compassion Over Killing went undercover in several Tyson Foods facilities in Virginia and recorded farm workers abusing chickens.
Chickens were filmed being kicked, thrown, strangled, and abused in other ways by workers.
As a result, Tyson Foods has issued a statement vowing to retrain bird handlers in proper practices. The company also fired the 10 workers filmed treating chickens cruelly in COK’s video, and they are being investigated by local authorities who may pursue criminal charges.
€œThe people shown in the video by Compassion Over Killing were all trained in proper animal handling, yet chose to ignore it and failed to alert management about the despicable treatment on these farms,” Dr. Christine Daugherty, vice president of sustainable food production for Tyson Foods, said in the statement. €œAnimals in our care deserve to be treated humanely. Its our responsibility to ensure that everyone who works for our company behaves properly.”
The company has also discontinued the practice of beak modification, which subjects male chickens to a painful process meant to prevent them from eating certain types of foods.
“We believe that Tyson as a company needs to be held accountable,” Erica Meier, COK’s executive director, told USA Today. €œThis is too common of a problem being documented for Tyson’s to be pushing this aside as a few rogue workers or bad apples. This is a systemic problem.€
This latest incident marks the fifth time in about 13 months that animal rights groups were able to go undercover in Tyson’s processing plants and record footage revealing animal abuse, USA Today said.
Tyson recognized this broader issue in their statement.
“While we already have animal well-being audit and training programs, we believe we havent gone far enough and must do more to stop this inexcusable behavior,” the company said.
“The best way we can protect chickens, and all animals, is simply to leave them off our plates,” a spokeswoman says in COK’s video.