Turkeys Were Left to Suffer for Days After Wreck; Criminal Charges Warranted, Says PETA

For Immediate Release:
April 11, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Thief River Falls, Minn.

PETA has obtained a just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing that workers at the Northern Pride slaughterhouse in Thief River Falls abandoned turkeys who had been injured in a truck crash, leaving them on a trailer—evidently without food or water or any kind of care—for three days. During that time, the temperature dropped to 31 degrees. This conduct violates state law, so today, PETA sent a letter to Thief River Falls City Attorney Nathan Haase requesting an investigation and cruelty-to-animals charges, as appropriate.

According to the federal report, a truck carrying the turkeys had flipped on its side before it arrived at Northern Pride at around 6 p.m. on November 5, 2021. Workers simply left surviving turkeys in cages on a trailer over the weekend and failed to care for them or end their suffering until late in the day on November 8.

“If injured dogs were caged in the freezing cold and left to languish in pain for days, those who were responsible would face multiple charges of cruelty to animals, and turkeys suffer in exactly the same ways and are also protected by law,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the horrific fates of these turkeys and urges anyone disturbed by this incident to go 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 Haase follows.

April 11, 2022

The Honorable Nathan Haase

Thief River Falls City Attorney

Dear Mr. Haase:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a local law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Northern Pride Inc. and the workers responsible for leaving turkeys involved in a truck crash to suffer in cages—likely without food and water—for three days at its slaughterhouse located at 401 Conley Ave. S. in Thief River Falls. The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which the agency just made available to the public. (You can find this information in its original format by clicking here and searching for this slaughterhouse’s establishment number, P425; scrolling to the date “11/8/2021”; and then scrolling to the right.)

According to the report, on November 5, 2021, “a semi-load of birds … flipped on its side” before arriving at Northern Pride around 6 p.m. that day. While workers “started” removing dead turkeys that day, birds who had survived the crash—and were very likely injured—were kept on a trailer over the ensuing weekend, including outdoors, as records indicate the temperature dropped to 31 degrees. On the morning of November 8, an FSIS inspector found the survivors still caged—more than 60 hours after they had arrived at the slaughterhouse—and saw “another dead bird” in the very first cage he or she glanced at. Northern Pride evidently didn’t slaughter these birds until late on November 8, approximately 72 hours (if not more) after they’d been involved in the rollover wreck. Since food and water are withheld from turkeys prior to their transport—and not provided on trailers—these birds were likely denied food and water for more than three days.

This conduct may violate MINN. STAT. § 343.21. Please note that FSIS’ simple report on the matter carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under Minnesota law for cruelty to animals. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls. Thank you for your time and consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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