Tyson Foods has terminated two employees for violating the company’s animal handling policy at its poultry processing plant near Carthage, Mississippi.
The alleged abuse of chickens at the plant was shown in a video that was released on October 27 by animal rights group Mercy for Animals. Narrated by actress Candice Bergen, the video, which was filmed by a Mercy for Animals investigator who went undercover and gained employment at Tyson, shows scenes of workers mishandling the birds, including throwing them and punching them.
In the video, Bergen explained the “investigator reported the animal abuse to management on many occasions, but observed no corrective actions taken.”
However, according to a statement issued by Tyson Foods, the company has been “investigating a claim of animal mistreatment in this area of the plant since late last week.”
The statement added that the company is “appalled by the actions shown in this video.”
“We believe proper animal handling is an important moral and ethical obligation. Everyone who works with live animals in our plants – including the person who secretly shot this video – is trained in proper animal handling and instructed to immediately report anything they believe is inappropriate. Workers are encouraged to report bad behavior to their supervisor as well as the Tyson Foods compliance and ethics hotline,” the company stated.
Mercy For Animals has stated that it submitted a misdemeanor complaint with Mississippi authorities, but to Tyson’s knowledge, no criminal charges had been filed by any government agency.