Three workers at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina have been arrested after undercover footage showed employees abusing turkeys, ABC News reported. Authorities plan to arrest an additional three Butterball workers on animal cruelty charges.
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The criminal charges come after animal rights group Mercy for Animals took undercover footage at a Butterball turkey farm last year. The graphic footage shows workers kicking and shoving turkeys. In one shot, an animal has an open wound that is covered with flies.
Mercy for Animals Executive Director Nathan Runkle said that his group hadn't even been tipped-off about any animal abuse beforehand. "Unfortunately, every time we send an investigator they emerge with shocking evidence of animal abuse," Runkle told ABC.
An ABC News investigation from December revealed that officials in North Carolina raided a Butterball facility after the Hoke County District Attorney filed a confidential complaint against Butterball. Over 2,000 animals were inspected in the raid.
Butterball claims to be the largest turkey producer in the United States.