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Turkey Abusers Convicted: One Jailed!

Written by PETA | June 29, 2009
animalvegetablemiracle / CC

Late last year, some factory-farm employees got their pink slips from Aviagen Turkeys, Inc. in response to PETA’s undercover investigation, which documented that workers were breaking turkeys’ necks, stomping on their heads, and shoving feces and feed into turkeys’ mouths.

Then, in February, a grand jury handed down 19 indictments, including 11 felony charges, against three former Aviagen workers, marking the first time in U.S. history that factory-farm employees have faced felony cruelty-to-animals charges for abusing birds.

Fast forward: Two of the three ex-employees, Scott Alvin White and Edward Eric Gwinn, recently pleaded guilty to cruelty charges. On June 8, White was sentenced to serve one year in jail—the maximum period permitted by law! Today, Gwinn was sentenced to serve six months’ home confinement—the maximum period permitted by law—on each count, concurrently, and is banned from living with, owning, and working with animals for five years. The case against the third ex-employee, Walter Lee Hambrick, is pending.

Can’t get enough? In September, a grand jury in neighboring Monroe County, West Virginia, may well issue further felony indictments against White and Hambrick.

These historic victories by no means even the score for the turkeys who were punched and thrown or the many other birds who suffered when they were forced to watch as other turkeys were abused at Aviagen. After watching our undercover video, animal behavior expert Dr. Lesley J. Rogers stated, “It is now known that when social animals, like turkeys, see and hear other members of their species under stress or suffering physical injury, their levels of stress become elevated. Hence, the behavioural stress is widespread in the birds in the vicinity of those that have been injured and/or handled roughly.”

Still, these convictions will remind workers on other factory farms that if they don’t clean up their acts, PETA investigators (and the whistleblowers who tip us off) will have their eyes on them.

Written by Karin Bennett

Commenting is closed.
  • Jennifer Rider says:

    I was the one who reported the abuse.I went several sleepless nights due to graphic and horrible treatment to the animals.I witnessed a girl stealing 2 poults which she had to put them in her lunch box with a towel to smuffle their chirps.This place was horrible and I would’nt recomend anyone working there unless you enjoy cruelty to animals.Supervisors orders…

  • Elizabeth Walsh says:

    Rock on Thank god the legal system is starting to improve it sucks that those men couldnt have been given longer sentences but hey its a start

  • Christina says:

    What kind of homes did these maniacs come from? People who are fed up in the head like that should be sterilized so as not to bring about any more of their kind into society. One year is NOWHERE near long enough for these sorry excuses for human beings. God gave us these brains and our humanity for a reason. We were given the responsibility to speak out for these other creatures with whom we share this earth we must respect all God’s creatures. God bless PETA!

  • Teresa Saunders says:

    Scott Alvin White got a petition and instead of one year in jail he got home confinement and community service.