Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Foster Farms hit by Mercy for Animals

Foster Farms has been hit by an underground video shot for Mercy for Animals showing bird abuse at its slaughter plant at Fresno.

Foster Farms has already issued a news release saying what the video portrays is unacceptable.

Foster Farms has been struggling to win back customers after a massive recall of bacteria-tainted chicken products. The tainted meat made it to market over a number of months.

Since then, Foster Farms has implemented many changes that have reduced the incidence of harmful bacteria in its supply chain to the lowest levels in the United States.

Its supply chain stretches from chicken farms to retail-ready products.

But its welfare protocols have been found lacking, even though it is an American Humane Certified business.

In the video, workers are seen violently throwing birds on to the shackles, ripping feathers from birds that were described as still being alive and dumping chicks from bins on to the ground in was that allegedly harmed the birds. The video also purports to show birds that were scalded alive, having missed the kill blade.

Mercy for Animals says the footage was taken between April and June at a Foster Farms slaughterhouse in Fresno and the company's nearby farms.

Mercy for Animals made Canadian headlines for footage shot at Canada’s largest dairy farm, Chilliwack Cattle Co., in British Columbia, mainly showing cattle being prodded, beaten and kicked to get them into a rotary milking parlour, and for footage at Hybrid Turkeys farms near Kitchener.
Hybrid Turkeys is facing criminal charges in a case that has been adjourned a number of times by a court in Woodstock.

In a statement posted on its website, Foster Farms said, “We have already begun a comprehensive investigation to determine the source and location, including a fully cooperative effort with all appropriate authorities. The behavior of the individuals in this video is inappropriate and counter to our stringent animal welfare standards, procedures and policies.

Foster Farms employees receive annual training in animal welfare policies and the proper handling of birds in their care. Any employee willfully violating Foster Farms’ animal welfare policies and procedures is subject to disciplinary action up to and including dismissal.”