Tyson Foods ends contract with farm seen in abuse video

Tyson Foods has ended its contract with a poultry grower after a video showing animal mistreatment at the farm was circulated.

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Giulio_Fornasar, Bigstock
Giulio_Fornasar, Bigstock

Tyson Foods has ended its contract with a poultry grower after a video showing animal mistreatment at the farm was circulated.

The video, released by animal rights group Compassion Over Killing, showed footage filmed at Atlantic Farm in Temperanceville, Virginia. The video footage included workers slamming and throwing live birds, killing live chicks with a nail at the end of a pipe, workers stepping on live birds and a bird being run over by a forklift.

“We’re outraged by what’s shown in this video. The actions of these people are egregious, inexcusable and will not be tolerated by Tyson Foods,” Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry for Tyson Foods, said in a statement. “It’s our responsibility to ensure that everyone who works for and raises animals for our company treats animals properly.”

According to Ramsey’s statement, Tyson Foods confirmed the location and owner of the farm shown in the video within an hour of viewing the video. In addition to terminating the contract with Atlantic Farm, Tyson is also removing its birds from the farm’s care.

Ramsey also reported that ten employees of the contract catching crew, also shown in the video, have been terminated.

Re-emphasizing poultry welfare

Justin Whitmore, Tyson Foods chief sustainability officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy, stated that the people shown in the video were trained in proper animal handling, yet chose to ignore their training.

To make sure that situations like the one at Atlantic Farm do not happen again, Tyson Foods is taking steps to assure that those involved in live production have a clear understanding of the company’s animal welfare expectations.

The company plans to conduct a video conference with live production management at all Tyson poultry locations where senior poultry management staff members will stress the company’s commitment to proper animal handling. Tyson also stated that it would immediately begin to meet with everyone in its chicken operations who handles live birds to re-emphasize that every person who works for the company is responsible for proper animal handling.

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