Tyson cuts ties with Tennessee poultry farm

by Erica Shaffer
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McDonald's severed ties with a poultry processor accused of animal welfare abuses.
McDonald's supported Tyson Foods' decision to sever ties with a poultry processor accused of animal welfare abuses. (Photo: McDonald's.com)

SPRINGDALE, Ark. – Tyson Foods Inc. ended its business relationship with Dukedom, Tenn.-based T&S Farms after undercover video showed workers abusing chickens. Tyson Foods supplies chicken to McDonald’s Corp. which supported Tyson's decision to sever ties with the farm.

The video was taken by a member of Mercy For Animals and depicts individuals clubbing birds using a pole with a spike on the end of it. The video was taken during a four-week period in July and August at T&S Farm, which the organization said is a contract farm for Tyson Foods and a McDonald’s poultry supplier for the chain’s Chicken McNuggets.

Tyson Foods and McDonald’s severed ties with the poultry grower.

“Animal well-being is a priority at our company and we will not tolerate the unacceptable animal treatment shown in this video,” Tyson Spokesman Gary Mickelson said in a statement. “We’re especially concerned about the inappropriate methods used to euthanize sick and injured chickens.

“Members of our animal well-being team are investigating, however, based on what we currently know, we are terminating the farmer’s contract to grow chickens for us. There are currently no chickens on the farm.”

Mickelson added that Tyson doesn’t believe the video accurately depicts the treatment of chickens by the company’s poultry suppliers. McDonald’s said the company is working with Tyson to investigate the situation and reinforce its expectations regarding animal health and welfare at its supplier farms.

“We believe treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of a responsible supply chain and find the behavior depicted in this video to be completely unacceptable,” McDonald’s said in a statement. “We support Tyson Foods’ decision to terminate their contract with this farmer.

“We’re committed to working with animal welfare and industry experts to inform our policies that promote better management, strong employee education and verification of practices.”

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