For Immediate Release:
August 13, 2021
Moira Colley 202-483-7382
New Oxford, Pa – It’s consumer fraud: Workers kicking, stomping on, and beating turkeys with a heavy rod as well as pretending to masturbate with a dying female bird are all events caught on camera at a string of “humane”-certified farms raising birds for Pennsylvania–based Plainville Farms, a supplier to top grocers, including Whole Foods, Publix, and Harris Teeter. The company is “certified” by Global Animal Partnership (GAP), and it claims to consumers that the turkeys it exploits are “free from harm,” boasting that its transport is “comfortable” and “stress-free” for the birds—all of which PETA found to be false. The group is also calling out deliberately deceitful labels that fool kind consumers.
PETA’s investigator worked on crews that load turkeys onto slaughterhouse-bound trucks and found that, every night, at every farm, crewmembers routinely kicked and stomped on the turkeys as hard as they could, including those who were sick, injured, and unable to walk. One crew position is even called the “kick” because that’s the person’s role in loading. Two workers threw birds at one another for fun, and one held a garbage bag open like a basketball hoop to toss the birds into. Workers hit turkeys with an iron bar and stood on their heads. They choked, throttled, wrung, and snapped the birds’ necks before tossing them aside or dropping them to the floor. Still alive, the turkeys convulsed and were left to die in intense pain.
Instead of trying to stop this abuse, one supervisor himself kicked turkeys and repeatedly encouraged workers to abuse them. He and other workers berated PETA’s investigator for not kicking birds and instead picking them up and calmly herding them, even saying he should “get a new job” since he wouldn’t do things the “right” way by abusing the frightened birds.
“Every turkey sandwich represents the pain and fear of a gentle bird who wasn’t shown any kindness in his or her miserable life,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA reminds kind consumers that the only ‘humane’ meal is a vegan one, and we are ready to help them with their transition.”
PETA has fired off a letter to Plainville Farms’ acting president, Tom Donovan, urging him to terminate the abusive workers and is asking the Pennsylvania State Police to investigate and file appropriate criminal cruelty-to-animals charges. The group is also demanding that GAP drastically change its certification program by prohibiting labeling designed to deceive customers as well as calling on Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Publix to investigate its suppliers and highlight its many vegan options. PETA will be placing billboards in the immediate area and running ads in local publications pointing out that anyone who eats turkey flesh is complicit in the birds’ abuse.
Broadcast-quality video footage is available here. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat or abuse in any other way”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.