Prosecute Butterball for Vicious Animal Cruelty

Target: The Honorable Kristie Newton, District Attorney of Hoke County, North Carolina

Goal: The criminal prosecution of the Butterball employees and officials who have allowed or perpetrated unspeakable acts of cruelty on turkeys in their North Carolina breeding facility

Video evidence captured undercover by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals was posted on the web on December 23, 2011 and a subsequent complaint was filed with the Hoke County District Attorney’s Office when employees at Butterball’s Hoke County, North Carolina turkey farm were witnessed demonstrating extreme violence and cruelty in the handling of the birds housed in the facility.

Hoke County Officials have raided the farm acting on a warrant that would allow independent veterinarians to inspect the turkeys and euthanize any birds that are found to be suffering needlessly. The video evidence depicts multiple workers at the farm repeatedly dragging birds by their necks, wings, or legs and throwing them from pen to pen.  The workers kick the birds, take no action to inspect or treat bloodied and battered birds, and throw them at the sides of transport trucks.

Many of the birds shown in the footage are suffering from broken wings and limbs. Some are bloody, missing feathers, and covered in fly infested open sores. There is footage of a bird with a missing toe and foot swelling severe enough to prevent the animal from walking and another with a large patch of exposed flesh just under its wing. Based on the number of workers involved in this open display of animal abuse, there can be little doubt that this type of behavior is standard practice within the facility.

This is not the first time an animal rights group has presented evidence of cruelty on the part of Butterball employees.  The U.S.D.A investigated claims made by PETA against the Butterball slaughterhouse located in Ozark, Arkansas and confirmed that the animals there were subjected to repeat violent mishandling by employees of the facility. The similarities in the two complaints gives further credence to the idea that Butterball expects and allows violent employees to aggressively torture the birds in their care.

There is currently no Federal law protecting turkeys and chickens that are intended to be slaughtered for food and the local prosecutor in Ozark declined to prosecute Butterball in that case despite overwhelming evidence of animal abuse. The Hoke County facility is a breeding farm and the animals there are not slaughtered for food so the absence of protection for food poultry should not apply to this case.

A spokesperson for Butterball has stated that this type of behavior is not acceptable and that the company supports the current investigation. He further stated that employees found to be in violation will be terminated but the termination of employees who behaved in a manner that was allowed and accepted by the corporation is just Butterball’s way of finding a scapegoat and deflecting accountability. Please urge District Attorney Kristie Newton to pursue criminal charges against Butterball employees and officials so they can finally be held accountable for these ongoing acts of torture.


Dear Honorable Kristie Newton, D.A. Hoke County, North Carolina

The acts of animal cruelty depicted in the video presented by Mercy for Animals was incredibly alarming and can’t be allowed to go unpunished.  This type of inhumane behavior is not isolated to the Butterball facility located within your community and has been reported in other Butterball facilities throughout the country.

I thank you for acting so swiftly on this complaint and taking action to aid suffering animals and prevent further suffering in this facility but there is more work to be done.  The U.S.D.A. confirmed PETA’s complaint against Butterball in Ozark, Arkansas, yet the District Attorney there failed to prosecute the organization for their crimes.

Please take a stand against animal cruelty and hold Butterball accountable for the abuse of animals that repeatedly occurs under their watch.

[Your Name Here]

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  1. Please sign as many animal rights petitions as you can every single day! I have an open board on pinterest called Animal Rights. If you are on pinterest please join our board. My address on pinterest is

  2. Helene Beck says:

    The following is what ‘Butterball’ said when I approached them about the above matter:
    “November 25, 2013

    Thank you for contacting Butterball.

    We are aware of the video released by Mercy for Animals and we take any allegations of animal mistreatment very seriously. We have a long-standing zero-tolerance policy for animal abuse. Any employee found to have violated our animal care and well-being guidelines, and any employee who failed to report it, will be terminated. Butterball’s guidelines are based on guidelines developed by the National Turkey Federation and have been approved by several highly-respected third-party experts.

    When we learn of any instances of animal mistreatment, we take immediate corrective action to suspend workers involved, conduct a swift investigation and take action. As soon as we were made aware of these new concerns, we issued an internal investigation and suspended the associates in question. Once the investigation is completed, we will determine any additional actions, including immediate termination for those involved.

    Animal care and well-being is central to the operations of our company, and we remain committed to the ethical and responsible care of our turkey flocks.


    Butterball Consumer Affairs”

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