Video exposes Tyson workers mistreating animals – Tyson says they’re “disgusted”

Last week Compassion over Killing released video showing employees at Tyson Foods in Virginia inhumanely treating chickens. 

The video shows workers kicking and punching birds and using a technique called boning by which the sensitive part of a bird’s beak is punctured with a plastic bone to prevent it from eating certain types of food.

Compassion over killing executive director Erica Meier tells 47 ABC that although the video only shows a few employees, the behavior shown is indicative of a bigger problem.

“What our undercover investigation documented is not the result of a few bad apples or rogue workers, but it is a systemic issued and it needs to be addressed,” Meier said.

Tyson has since responded to the video.

Dr. Christine Daugherty, vice president of sustainable food production for Tyson Foods said, “I’m disgusted and outraged by what’s shown in the video.”

Daugherty said the employees were trained in proper animal handling, but chose to ignore it and failed to let management know what they were doing.

Those ten employees have since been fired.

Daugherty said whether any charges will be filed is up to local law enforcement depending on animal cruelty laws, but as of Friday no charges were filed.

Daugherty also said in a statement that the practice of boning was a traditional way from keeping males from eating food intended for females, but that Tyson is now eliminating the practice.   

Daugherty said they are also conducting their own investigation into the matter.

“We’re looking at all of this to determine what are better ways that we can approach this problem. We take animal well being very seriously and we’re going to get  to the bottom of this situation,” Daugherty said.

Aside from getting rid of boning though, Tyson has no policy changes planned. 

For now the company says it will meet with every employee who handles live birds and “aggressively re-emphasize the importance of proper animal handling and the consequences of not complying with the company’s animal welfare policies.”

Meier said Tyson’s stance may be a sign that the company is taking these allegations seriously, but she’s not convinced it will lead to a change.
“Because this isn’t the first time this has been uncovered we are certainly concerned this is mere lip service, their touting one thing to the public as they have already done before and yet behind closed doors there’s a hauntingly different,” Meier said.

Most locals 47 ABC spoke to did not agree with the actions of the employees, but were not very shocked. 

“Growing up in this area with all the chicken farms around and stuff you kind of see them being shipped and packed in those tiny trucks anyway so you’re a little bit desensitized, but after seeing that video knowing that’s what you’re eating most of the time it’s a little worrisome,” said Jon Soistman.

“Do I agree with it, no. But then again, you know, it is a business,” said Sandra Wallace.

A link to Compassion Over Killing’s video can be found by clicking here.

Categories: Local News, Maryland, Virginia