Contract turkey grower subject of undercover video

by MEAT+POULTRY Staff
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MORONI, Utah – An animal welfare group released undercover video depicting animal cruelty at a turkey farm under contract with Norbest LLC, a Moroni, Utah-based turkey producer and processor.

Direct Action Everywhere, a California-based non-profit animal welfare organization, documented sick and mutilated birds at the unidentified farm. Members of the group took the video at various times between January and September.

In a statement posted on the company’s website, Matt Cook, president and CEO of Norbest, said the company’s animal care team previously had documented violations at the farm, and required the owners to take corrective action. This occurred before the company became aware of the video and photos.

“On Nov. 1, the owner of the farm was advised he must correct all violations before we would consider returning birds to his care,” Cook said. “We took the additional step of formally suspending our contract with the farmer.

“Our animal welfare policy and mandatory training make our expectations crystal clear. Our policy states, ‘Animal abuse in any form will not be tolerated by Norbest Farms,” Cook added. “Failure to abide by the Norbest Farms Animal Welfare policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including employment or contract termination and where appropriate, prosecution under applicable laws.”

Cook reiterated Norbest’s commitment to animal care standards, and he expressed disappointment that the contract grower failed to meet those standards.

“Although it’s reassuring to know our team identified a problem and did the right thing by requiring corrective action, I am deeply disappointed that our standards were not upheld by the farmer in question,” he said. “We will re-examine every step in our training and inspection process to determine whether there is more we can do to guarantee our animal care standards are met. My goal is to prevent such an unfortunate situation from ever being repeated.”

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