Butterball raided for alleged turkey abuse

Dec. 29, 2011 at 8:16 PM

RAEFORD, N.C., Dec. 29 (UPI) -- North Carolina officials raided a Butterball turkey facility Thursday, acting on a complaint by animal rights group Mercy for Animals.

The group, known for its undercover investigations of factory animal farms, filed a complaint with the Hoke County District Attorney this month, ABC News reported. Mercy for Animals detailed conditions at the facility on hidden camera video taken by an activist who worked there undercover for three weeks until mid-December.

The group says the worker saw "an ongoing pattern of cruelty to the turkeys," as Butterball employees committed "acts of violence and severe neglect."

In the video, workers can be seen kicking and stomping on turkeys and dragging them by their necks and wings. The injured birds are shown with open wounds and exposed flesh.

Malicious animal abuse is considered a felony by North Carolina law, Mercy for Animals said.

Butterball is responsible for 20 percent of total turkey production in the United States, the company's Web site says.

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