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‘Systemic Horrors’: Rampant Animal Abuse Caught on Film at Tyson Chicken Supplier

'Systemic Horrors': Rampant Animal Abuse Caught on Film at Tyson Chicken Supplier
iStock/buhanovskiy

A second undercover investigation of a Tyson Foods supplier by animal rights organization Compassion Over Killing (COK) reveals what the group is calling “systemic animal abuse” on a farm facility housing more than 225,000 birds for the nation’s largest meat producer.

Workers at the Atlantic Farm in Temperanceville, Virginia, were filmed committing “egregious acts of violence,” COK noted in a press release yesterday — abuses including workers slamming and throwing live birds; one worker impaled live chicks with metal nails; workers killed sick birds by beating or stepping on them, while others were run over with forklifts; and sick and injured birds were throw into buckets containing dead birds, where they were left to die.

The organization also obtained footage showing the “hidden horrors” of genetic manipulation — techniques used to make birds grow bigger than they would naturally, causing deformities, lameness, and constant pain. The footage reveals birds unable to walk because of painful leg deformities caused by their unnatural body weight.

“Our hidden-camera footage uncovers the egregious and systemic horrors Tyson allows its birds to endure behind closed doors,” Erica Meier, Compassion Over Killing’s Executive Director, said in a statement. “It’s time for Tyson to be a true leader by tackling the most pressing issues in its industry today by immediately ending the genetic manipulation of birds for rapid growth and expanding its investment in the consumer-driven future of food: plant-based proteins.”

Compassion Over Killing ‘s 2016 investigation of several Tyson Foods broiler breeding factories, also in Virginia, found workers committing similar abuses, which led to the first court trials for cruelty to broilers, chickens raised for meat.

The most recent investigation comes despite Tyson’s assurances via its recent “Commitment to Animal Well-Being,” which includes “internationally-recognized Five Freedoms” for chickens: freedom from hunger or thirst; freedom from discomfort; freedom from pain, injury or disease; freedom to express normal behavior; and freedom from fear and distress.

Tyson made headlines last year when it acquired a five percent stake in Beyond Meat, the California start-up shaking up the meat industry with its popular pea-protein-based Beyond Burger that cooks and tastes like “real” meat. The company also makes plant-based chicken products.

Warning: graphic content.

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Jill Ettinger

Jill Ettinger is a Los Angeles-based journalist and editor focused on the global food system and how it intersects with our cultural traditions, diet preferences, health, and politics. She is the senior editor for sister websites OrganicAuthority.com and EcoSalon.com, and works as a research associate and editor with the Cornucopia Institute, the organic industry watchdog group. Jill has been featured in The Huffington Post, MTV, Reality Sandwich, and Eat Drink Better. www.jillettinger.com.




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