House of Horrors

Turkey Slaughterhouse Investigation Reveals Sickening Cruelty

Largely hidden from view, every year over nine billion chickens and 250 million turkeys are raised on factory farms and killed in our nation’s slaughterhouses. Their suffering often goes unseen and their cries unheard – until now.

A Mercy For Animals undercover investigation takes you behind the closed doors of one of the country’s largest poultry slaughterhouses — House of Raeford Farms, Inc. in Raeford, North Carolina. In January and February of 2007 an MFA investigator worked in the “live-hang” area of the plant (where live birds are snapped into shackles on the slaughter line), secretly filming egregious acts of animal cruelty with a hidden camera. Shocking abuses he witnessed include:

  • Turkeys with broken wings and legs, bloody open wounds, tumors and other untreated injuries being slaughtered for human consumption
  • A worker violently punching live, shackled turkeys for “fun”
  • Employees forcefully shoving their hands into the cloacae (vaginal cavities) of live chickens
  • Turkeys and chickens being thrown across the facility and up into the air
  • Workers ripping the heads off live turkeys
  • Birds being crushed to death under the wheels of trucks
  • Conscious turkeys having their throats slit

After viewing the footage, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and meat-industry advisor Dr. Temple Grandin — who is generally recognized as the world’s leading scientific authority on animal welfare — said, “This is a sloppy poorly managed plant where employees are allowed to abuse animals … There are some management people that need to get fired.”

The workers responsible for the abuse cannot be charged under federal law because the USDA refuses to protect turkeys and chickens in its enforcement of the Humane Slaughter Act.

As such, MFA is seeking felony cruelty-to-animals charges against House of Raeford Farms, Inc. for violating North Carolina animal cruelty statutes. On May 18, 2007 MFA furnished the Hoke County prosecutor with a criminal complaint containing affidavits and video footage documenting slaughterhouse workers violently punching, throwing, and ripping the heads off of live animals, as well as testimony from world-renowned animal welfare scientists attesting to the pain inflicted on birds at the facility.

Though the abuses MFA’s investigator documented are egregious, it only begins to scratch the surface of the larger picture of farmed animal cruelty in the United States. The single most powerful action you can take to end such abuse is to adopt a vegetarian diet.


 Investigation Video  |  Photos  |  Worker’s Diary  |  What the Experts Say  |  You Can Help!