Feds Find Turkeys Suffocated at Farbest Foods; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
April 5, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Huntingburg, Ind.

Armed with a damning U.S. Department of Agriculture report documenting that at least 20 turkeys suffocated to death at a Farbest Foods, Inc., slaughterhouse, near Huntingburg, PETA sent a letter this morning to Dubois County Prosecuting Attorney Anthony D. Quinn, asking him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible. PETA just obtained the federal report via a Freedom of Information Act request.

The federal report notes that the workers intentionally stacked approximately 50 live turkeys—in two or three layers—into two crates and then left for a break. When they later removed the birds, 10 to 12 turkeys in each crate had died.

“Up to two dozen turkeys endured slow, terrifying deaths, buried beneath other struggling birds,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation and urging anyone disturbed by this cruelty to help prevent animals from going into slaughterhouses in the first place by going vegan.”

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 Quinn follows.

April 5, 2021

The Honorable Anthony D. Quinn

Dubois County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Quinn:

We’re writing to request that your office (and the local law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Farbest Foods, Inc., and the workers responsible for stacking approximately 50 turkeys into coops—which killed at least 20 of them—on January 20, 2020, at its slaughterhouse located at 4689 S. 400 W., near Huntingburg. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which PETA just obtained via a public records request.

According to the report, an FSIS inspector found that several workers had put approximately 25 turkeys—in two or three layers—into each of two crates before leaving for a break. When workers removed the birds, 10 to 12 turkeys were evidently found dead in each crate. When the FSIS agent asked a worker if all the birds were alive when they were put into the crates, the worker allegedly nodded in affirmation. The FSIS inspector concluded that the workers had intentionally stacked the animals on top of one another and that, as a result, up to 24 birds had died of suffocation.

This conduct may violate IC § 35-46-3. Importantly, FSIS action doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.

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


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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