Tyson responds to animal activist claim of abuse at contract chicken farm
A new video released by animal rights group Mercy for Animals alleges abusive conditions at McGinnis Farms in Dagsboro, Delaware—a contract farm for Tyson Foods. The video was recorded over March and April of this year.
Tyson has responded to the allegations (the company’s full statement is below), stating that it is investigating the matter. It also noted that the farm was dealing with a respiratory illness in its flock at the time of the video, and that “what was shown in the video is not typical for this or any other farm.
“We offered to meet with Mercy for Animals to discuss its concerns, however, the group declined and chose to hold news conferences instead,” the company added.
Among the abuse that MFA is claiming is:
- Workers violently clubbing animals to death, breaking their necks, and leaving severely sick and injured animals to die without food or water
- Baby birds carelessly thrown to the ground from transport crates suffering broken bones and other severe injuries
- Chickens bred to grow so fast they became crippled under their own weight and frequently died from heart attacks and organ failure
- Hundreds of thousands of birds crammed into filthy, windowless sheds forced to live for weeks in their own waste and toxic ammonia fumes
Laura Hill, whose farm near Lewes grows flocks of 110,000 chickens for food supplier Mountaire, watched the Dagsboro video and said the footage is taken out of context.
"I was disgusted. To me the video is a false manipulation," she said. "If you have a house with 30,000 birds, you can go through there anytime and find a bird that is sick and needs to be culled."
Officials for McGinnis, which raises chickens for Tyson Foods Inc., did not respond to interview requests, reports Delaware Online. Tyson Foods complete statement on the video is as follows:
We offered to meet with Mercy for Animals to discuss its concerns, however, the group declined and chose to hold news conferences instead.
Animal well-being is a top priority for us. We do not tolerate improper animal treatment and take claims of animal abuse very seriously. We are investigating this matter.
We have programs and policies in place to protect the health and well-being of all our animals. This includes the Tyson FarmCheck program that involves third-party auditors who check on the farm for such things as animal access to food and water, human-animal interaction and worker training.
We’re continually looking for ways to improve how we operate and this includes animal well-being. We’re constantly researching new ways to keep our chickens healthy and safe.
Our farmers work hard to raise healthy birds, however, sometimes chickens – just like people – get sick. At the time this video was shot this past spring, this farm had birds that were sick with a respiratory illness. As a result, what was shown in the video is not typical for this or any other farm. It was also not a food safety issue.
Source: Delaware Online, Tyson Foods