Target: Ronnie Parker, general manager of Circle S
Goal: Urge Circle S to implement a humane emergency response plan for poultry truck crashes.
In July 2012, a truck from Circle S Ranch in North Carolina was carrying a shipment of live turkeys from the farm to the slaughterhouse. When the truck overturned en route, nearly 600 turkeys were left to die from heat exhaustion and injuries. Animals—even those bound for slaughter—should be treated humanely. Demand that Circle S. Ranch implement a humane plan to respond to future accidents like this one.
Volunteers from the Martinsville/Henry County SPCA described a horrifying scene, as turkeys died slowly of heat exhaustion and suffered injuries from the wreck. “The smell accosted us the minute we got out of the car,” one volunteer said. “[I]t was horrendous.” When workers from Circle S arrived on the scene a whopping five hours after the crash, SPCA volunteers allege, they treated still-alive turkeys unnecessarily roughly, throwing and dropping them.
Although the workers were not charged with animal abuse, the truck’s driver was charged with reckless driving. However, this incident emerges as the latest in a line of troubling accidents: according to PETA, this is the fifth Circle S turkey truck to crash since 2009. Given this history, it is even more important that Circle S have a humane response plan to use in the event of another crash.
Leslie Hervey, director of the Martinsville/Henry County SPCA, was at the crash scene. “All animals deserve to die in a humane manner,” she said, “and this is not humane.” Other companies have responded to public outcry over their crash responses by instituting detailed response plans. Given the prevalence of crashes on its record, Circle S has a responsibility to do the same. Tell Circle S that living animals deserve to be treated humanely no matter what. Urge the company to implement an emergency response plan that respects the lives of the birds in its care.
Dear Mr. Parker,
In July of 2012, a Circle S truck carrying 600 turkeys overturned. But even worse than the accident itself was what followed: injured, distressed turkeys left to die in the hot sun. When employees from Circle S arrived five hours later to clean up the accident site, witnesses reported that they dropped and threw still-living turkeys. Although this particular incident was entirely avoidable, accidents and emergencies do happen. To that end, I strongly urge you to implement a humane emergency response plan to apply in the event of future crashes.
You have a responsibility to treat the turkeys in your care in a humane manner from their birth until their time of death, be it natural or in a slaughterhouse. Leaving panicked birds to die of heat exhaustion and injuries for five hours is not a humane business practice. Having a crash plan in place would help restore a sense of responsibility to the animals that constitute your livelihood, and would also help combat further bad publicity for Circle S.
After Smithfield Foods suffered a similar spate of accidents and bad publicity, its parent company Murphy-Brown instituted a detailed emergency response plan, including a detailed chain of command, euthanasia guidelines, and employee training sessions. Pursuing a similar plan would help rehabilitate Circle S’s public image and make it an example for others to follow in the poultry industry.
Please do not allow the turkeys in your care to continue to suffer needlessly. Implement an emergency response plan as soon as possible.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Scott Bauer, U.S. Department of Agriculture via Public Domain Images