What the Experts Say

Veterinarians and animal welfare professionals speak out against cruelty

Independent, nationally and world-renowned academic and professional experts in bird welfare, veterinary medicine, and slaughter systems reviewed the video footage from MFA’s undercover investigation of House of Raeford poultry slaughterhouse. Below are some of their statements:

Temple Grandin, Ph.D., P.A.S.

Dr. Grandin is perhaps the world’s leading expert on farmed-animal welfare. She is an associate professor of livestock behavior at Colorado State University and an animal welfare advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the meat industry. She has designed equipment and systems that are in use in numerous slaughter facilities nationwide. Dr. Grandin states:

"This is a sloppy poorly managed plant where employees are allowed to abuse animals. Punching turkeys and shoving hands up the vent to get eggs would cause pain and suffering, and is cruelty to animals."

"There are some management people that need to get fired."

Click here for Dr. Grandin's entire statement.

Charlotte Berg, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Dr. Berg is a veterinary officer at the Swedish Animal Welfare Agency. She participates in expert groups on bird welfare for the European Union and is a member of the Working Group on Poultry Welfare of the European branch of the World Poultry Science Association. Dr. Berg states:

"...unacceptable conditions and obvious maltreatment of live animals, such as throwing heavy birds in the air or deliberately punching them."

"...the actions are unacceptable from an animal welfare point of view, and are definitely far below the standard of animal handling..."

"Based on current knowledge of bird pain perception and stress reactions, it can be concluded that the birds handled this way will suffer considerably."

Click here for Dr. Berg's entire statement.

Bernard Rollin, Ph.D.

Dr. Rollin is the Distinguished Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and is well-known internationally for his 30 years of work in animal welfare. He was a major architect of federal laws protecting laboratory animals, and written two books on farm animal welfare. He serves on the Pew commission examining confined animal feeding operations and is an expert witness on animal welfare issues in the US and abroad. Dr. Rollin states:

"The footage I saw paradigmatically fits the classical definition of cruelty embodies in US state laws, in that the animals are subjected to willful, sadistic, purposeless, unnecessary infliction of pain and suffering..."

"All of the incidents depicted evidence that the culture of the plant in question is pathological and unacceptable, that workers are not punished for acts of abuse, or untrained, and that management is either non-existent or incompetent."

"In my view, this plant should be shut down until it can be run humanely and properly."

Click here for Dr. Rollin's entire statement.

Mohan Raj BVSc MVSc Ph.D.

Dr. Mohan is a veterinary scientist who specializes in farmed animal welfare, particularly at the time of stunning and slaughter. He has published over 50 scientific papers on various methods of stunning and slaughter. He also served as a member of such Working Groups as the European Union Scientific Veterinary Committee on Animal Health and Animal Welfare and the Scientific Panel of the European Food Safety Authority. He is currently a member of ad hoc Working Group of the World Organisation of Animal Health. Dr. Mohan states:

"Hanging up side down on metal shackles is a physiologically abnormal posture for all poultry, including turkey and is painful and distressing. Under this situation, compression of their legs by metal shackle is known to be an extremely painful experience to all poultry, especially heavy turkeys."

"Under these circumstances, punching turkeys hanging on shackle line is like 'rubbing salt in their wound' and the unacceptable behaviour of staff causing cruelty is a clear indication of ignorance and an overall lack of proper education and training programme in animal welfare."

"Removal of eggs from live chickens by inserting hand into their rear end is an uncivilised act and amounts to unjustifiably extreme cruelty to live poultry, in my opinion."

Click here for Dr. Raj's entire statement.

Nedim C. Buyukmihci, V.M.D.

Dr. Buyuckmihci is an Emeritus Professor of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California, Davis. He has over 34 years of experience, much of it involving farmed animals including chickens and turkeys. Dr. Buyuckmihci states:

"There is no question at all that the manner in which the turkeys and chickens were treated was cruel; characterizing it as vicious would not be wrong."

"In general, the handling was extremely rough and brutal and was causing stress and injury to the birds."

"Although I have seen a lot of cruel behavior towards nonhuman animals, what I witnessed in the video is about the worst."

Click here for Dr. Buyukmihci's entire statement.


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