WASHINGTON – Inhumane treatment of animals and potentially illegal cruelty was allegedly depicted during an undercover video investigation at Butterfield Foods Co.’s poultry slaughter plant in Butterfield, Minn., charges the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). This is reportedly the first undercover investigation of a spent-hen slaughter plant in the US, HSUS claims.

The animal rights group said it conducted the investigation at the company’s plant, released video and other results of the investigation and reported possible illegal activity to local and federal authorities. One complaint was filed with the US Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service Administrator Al Almanza for possible violations of the Poultry Products Inspection Act.

Among alleged abuses, HSUS claims the video depicts: birds being transported in overcrowded cages; ineffective and improper stunning, and improper handling of live birds.

HSUS urges the USDA to require processors use controlled atmosphere stunning technology, which the animal rights group considers to be more humane. Officials with Butterfield Foods did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.