Whistleblower Reports Potential Butterball ‘Catastrophe’ to PETA

Internal Documents Reveal Hose Blasts, Honking Horns, Other Extreme Measures to Stop Deliberately Fattened Birds From Dying in Heat Wave

For Immediate Release:
July 2, 2021

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Carthage, Mo. – Armed with a damning whistleblower report, PETA fired off a letter today to Butterball President and CEO Jay Jandrain urging him to roll back a reported new company policy to dramatically increase the weight and age of turkeys killed at its Carthage slaughterhouse, which would cause the potential for the animals to die of heat prostration to skyrocket.

“Turkeys already suffer when they’re crammed into stifling sheds and hauled down the highway to slaughterhouses, where their throats are cut,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is urging Butterball not to ‘overgrow’ the birds and pile the miseries of heatstroke and suffocation on top of the other systemic abuse inflicted on them.”

Heat exhaustion is a serious threat for turkeys: A Butterball pamphlet leaked to PETA reveals that even the smaller birds may apparently die if factory farmers don’t blast them with power washers and honk ATV horns at them to startle them into standing up and dissipating the heat that builds up under their torsos. Now—according to the whistleblower who contacted PETA—because layoffs have reduced the capacity of Butterball’s Carthage slaughterhouse, the birds the company calls “super toms” will be kept for an extra three to four weeks and will grow 20% larger, which the whistleblower called a “catastrophe.” When asked at a company meeting what the plan was to keep these extra-large turkeys alive in the summer heat, a Butterball supervisor reportedly replied, “Pray for a mild summer.”

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.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind