Veterinarians and Animal Welfare Experts Condemn Hybrid Turkeys

Independent, nationally, and world-renowned academic and professional experts in farmed animal welfare and veterinary medicine reviewed the video footage from MFA Canada's undercover investigation at a Hybrid Turkeys factory farm. Below are some of their statements.

Temple Grandin, PhD, PAS

Dr. Grandin is considered 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. Dr. Grandin states:

The euthanasia methods were clearly not acceptable and the industry needs to develop better methods.

[Turkeys] must never be lifted by the ends of the wings and swinging the turkey is not acceptable.

Ian Duncan, PhD

Dr. Duncan is professor emeritus of applied ethology in the Department of Animal and Poultry Science at the University of Guelph and also holds the oldest university chair in animal welfare in North America. He has published two books, 35 book chapters, and more than 150 scientific papers. Dr. Duncan writes:

The euthanasia practices depicted in the video I saw were inhumane; they did not result in immediate unconsciousness.

It is not appropriate to kick, punch, or swing birds. This is gratuitous cruelty.

Mary Richardson, DVM

For over 20 years, Dr. Richardson has been involved in animal welfare issues. She chaired the Animal Welfare Committee for the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association and produced policy statements on a wide range of topics. Dr. Richardson also served as chair of the Animal Care Review Board for the Solicitor General of Ontario, during which time she presided over court cases involving animal abuse. She was also a board member of the Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph. Dr. Richardson states:

This videotape exposes examples of animal abuse and neglect. There are clear violations of both the OSPCA Act and the Criminal Code of Canada.

Debi Zimmermann, DVM

Dr. Zimmermann graduated from Western College of Veterinary Medicine in 1988. In addition to her doctorate, she holds a degree in biology with a specialization in zoology from the University of Alberta. She is a member of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, the Alberta Veterinary Medical Association, the Edmonton Small Animal Veterinary Association, and the International Veterinary Academy of Pain Management. Dr. Zimmermann writes:

The fact that these birds were killed in this brutal fashion in full view of the Barn Supervisor suggests that this is a standard of practice at this facility and not the actions of a rogue employee.

Sara Shields, PhD

Dr. Sara Shields holds a doctorate in animal behavior from the University of California, Davis and has extensive experience as a research scientist, teacher, and consultant in animal welfare with an emphasis on the well-being of poultry. Dr. Shields states:

[T]he video sent to me ... contains some of the most severe abuse that I have yet witnessed.

While blunt force trauma is sometimes used to kill animals that are sick or injured on a farm, the way it is carried out ... is completely unacceptable. ... This is a horrific case of animal cruelty, which is clearly condoned by management.

Greg Burkett, DVM

Dr. Burkett is a board-certified avian veterinarian in North Carolina who serves as chair of the AAV Avian Welfare Committee and as an adjunct professor of avian medicine and surgery at the North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Burkett concludes:

[T]he video ... demonstrates multiple acts of extreme cruelty to animals. The acts inflicted protracted and severe pain and suffering needlessly.

John Sorenson, PhD

John Sorenson is a professor in the Department of Sociology at Brock University, where he teaches courses on animals and human society. Brock University is a leading institution in North America in the rapidly growing field of critical animal studies. Dr. Sorenson has written and edited numerous books and journal articles on various aspects of human-animal relationships. Dr. Sorenson writes:

The video depicts workers, in the presence of their supervisor, beating animals with sticks and shovels, attempting to break their necks or strangle them, all done with casual brutality and indifference to the suffering that is undeniably evident. There is clear and direct evidence here of abuse and deliberate cruelty to animals.