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Major US turkey supplier dropped

Footage showing workers kicking, stamping and beating turkeys at farms supplying Plainville Farms has prompted prominent US supermarket, Whole Foods, to suspend all purchasing from the company and pull products from its stores.

The investigation by animal welfare group, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), showed workers caught on camera pretending to masturbate with a dying female bird, throwing birds like basketballs, and trying to break turkey’s necks.

PETA protesters are very clear about animal rights; there is no excuse for animal abuse. Photo: ANP
PETA protesters are very clear about animal rights; there is no excuse for animal abuse. Photo: ANP

Tracy Reiman, PETA executive VP, said: “If Whole Foods’ shoppers could see the abuse that turkeys ensure for so-called humane meat, they’d lose their lunch.” Whole Food described the footage as “incredibly upsetting and unacceptable”.

Investigation by Global Animal Partnership

In a statement, Plainville Farms, which is certified by Global Animal Partnership – one of the largest animal welfare food labelling programmes in North America – said it had launched an internal investigation and that if any of its employees were involved, they would be held accountable.

”...if these are our employees, clearly, we failed somewhere along the way. [We] will do whatever it takes to [...] make sure something like this never happens again.”

“Plainville Farms was founded more than 100 years ago with a commitment to the highest standards in animal welfare. Today is no different. This company is passionate about its values and is unwilling to compromise on them. Make no mistake, Plainville Farms’ number one priority is animal welfare. Although we have stringent protocols in place to prevent these types of incidents from occurring, if these are our employees, clearly, we failed somewhere along the way. We remain committed to setting the gold standard for the health and well-being of our turkeys and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal and make sure something like this never happens again.”

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A call to terminate abusive workers

PETA has called on Plainville Farms to conduct a full audit of its crews, and in a press release on 31 August, PETA wrote: “What PETA calls Plainville Farms’ fraudulent humane certification has now been suspended by Global Animal Partnership, its turkey products have been pulled from Whole Foods, and 13 of its workers have been terminated”.

It has also urged retailers Harris Teeter, Wegmans and Publix to investigate their suppliers and highlight their vegan options, and submit evidence to the Pennsylvania State Police.