Tyson responds to undercover video

by Erica Shaffer
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SPRINGDALE, Ark. – A video that appears to show workers abusing birds at a Mississippi processing plant owned by Tyson Foods Inc. has led to the dismissal of two slaughtering facility employees, the company said. The video was taken at the facility which is near Carthage, Miss.

Mercy For Animals, an animal welfare organization, released the video and said affidavits were filed with the Leake County Justice Court levelling charges of misdemeanor animal cruelty against six employees and Tyson Foods. The company denounced the actions in the video.

“We’re appalled by the actions shown in this video and have been investigating a claim of animal mistreatment in this area of the plant since late last week,” Tyson said in a statement. “We have already terminated two of the workers shown in the video, who were clearly in violation of the company’s animal handling policy. Mercy for Animals has reportedly submitted a misdemeanor complaint with county officials over this matter, however, to our knowledge no criminal charges have been filed by any government agency.”

The group also urged Tyson to adopt controlled atmosphere stunning systems in place of electric stunning boxes.

“We believe proper animal handling is an important moral and ethical obligation,” the company said. “Everyone who works with live animals in our plants — including the person who secretly shot this video — is trained in proper animal handling and instructed to immediately report anything they believe is inappropriate. Workers are encouraged to report bad behavior to their supervisor as well as the Tyson Foods compliance and ethics hotline.”

Mercy For Animals also shot video at T&S Farms, a contract poultry grower in Dukedom, Tenn. Tyson Foods and McDonald’s Corp. severed ties with the farm following the release of an undercover video depicting abuse of chickens.
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