A week after a video was released online showing workers at a Butterball facility appearing to abuse turkeys, officials in North Carolina have raided the farm.
Hoke County Sheriff officials entered the turkey semen collection facility to investigate charges of “acts of violence and severe neglect,” ABC News reports. Under North Carolina law, “malicious” animal abuse can be a felony.
Butterball, which is based in North Carolina, released a statement that said the company was currently working alongside Hoke County officials.
“Butterball takes these allegations very seriously and fully supports the efforts being made on the part of officials,” the statement read, in part. “Butterball has a zero tolerance policy for any mistreatment of our birds or the failure to immediately report mistreatment of our birds by any associates.”
The statement also said that the company was performing internal and third-party audits as part of its own investigation and that employees who violated Butterball’s animal welfare policies would be fired.
The raid was spurred on by the video, which was captured on hidden camera in November and December of this year and posted by Chicago-based animal rights group Mercy for Animals. The video shows birds being thrown kicked and dragged by workers. Some are covered in flies, suffering from bloody wounds and infections, or living in their own waste. Watch the video below. WARNING: Graphic content.
Mercy for Animals says it will reveal more details from its investigation in a news conference Friday. More images of the abuse are here.
Butterball is the largest turkey producer in the United States, accounting for 20 percent of total turkey production.