Feds Find Scores of Birds Mutilated at Jennie-O Slaughterhouses; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Austin, Minn. – Armed with U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing that turkeys sustained broken wings and legs among other severe injuries from being roughly handled by workers at two slaughterhouses operated by Jennie-O Turkey—a subsidiary of Austin-based Hormel Foods Corp.—PETA sent a letter today to Acting U.S. Attorney for the District of Minnesota W. Anders Folk, asking him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file federal criminal charges against the company and workers. PETA recently obtained the federal reports via a public records request.

The reports note that up to 50 turkeys on a conveyer belt at a slaughterhouse in Faribault were yanked so violently that their legs were broken, their muscles and skin were torn, and blood covered the belt. At a slaughterhouse in Willmar, 65 birds sustained fractured wings and/or acute bruises on their legs when a worker used so much force to unload live turkeys from a truck that the animals’ legs struck a bar and birds hit a wall.

“These reports reveal that birds were abused so violently that they were left broken and bloody,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA urges anyone who still eats turkeys to remember the pain and suffering of these vulnerable animals—and opt for a vegan meal instead.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Folk follows.

April 15, 2021

The Honorable W. Anders Folk

Acting U.S. Attorney

District of Minnesota

Dear Mr. Folk:

I’m writing to request that your office investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Jennie-O Turkey Store, LLC, and the workers responsible for violations of the Poultry Products Inspection Act at its turkey slaughterhouses located in Willmar and Faribault. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which PETA just obtained via a public records request.

According to one report, on January 29, 2020, FSIS staff found that 65 turkeys had sustained fractured wings and/or acute bruises—up to 11 inches long—on their legs at the slaughterhouse located at 2505 Willmar Ave. S.W., Willmar. Upon investigation, a federal agent saw a worker using so much force to unload live turkeys off a truck that the animals’ legs struck a bar and the birds were sent onto a conveyor with so much momentum that they hit a wall. The FSIS inspector instructed Jennie-O staff to take corrective actions but returned to the area to find that nothing had been done and that turkeys continued to be injured.

On February 26, 2020, an FSIS agent saw several Jennie-O workers “yanking … aggressively” on up to 50 turkeys who had collected on a conveyor at the slaughterhouse located at 1116 Fourth Ave. N.W., Faribault. The federal inspector saw that the animals’ legs were fractured, that their muscles and skin were torn and mutilated, and that the conveyor belt was covered with blood.

21 U.S. Code § 461 (a) provides penalties of imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000 for such conduct. Criminal prosecution of such egregious mistreatment of live turkeys is in the best interests of the animals killed there and the public.

Please let me know if I can assist your office. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

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