TEMPERANCEVILLE, Va. – Tyson Foods Inc., Springdale, Arkansas, terminated its contract with Atlantic Farm, a poultry production operation, after undercover video footage depicting animal cruelty was released by an animal rights group on Dec. 6. A representative from Compassion Over Killing posing as an employee recorded undercover video footage of what Tyson officials referred to as “egregious, inexcusable” actions by workers at the facility over the course of several weeks.
Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry for Tyson Foods said the company was outraged by the footage and that 10 employees of the contract catching crew identified in the video were fired on Dec. 5.
“Within an hour of seeing this video, we confirmed the location and owner of the farm,” said Ramsey in a statement from Tyson. “We are terminating the contract with the farmer who allowed these actions to take place and are removing any of our birds from his care,” he added
Justin Whitmore, Tyson’s chief sustainability officer and executive vice president of corporate strategy, said the people in the video ignored their training, which included alerting management about the treatment of the animals at the farm.
“A non-negotiable condition of employment or any contract agreement with Tyson Foods is a dedication to treating animals properly,” Whitmore said. “Despite these bad actors and their shameful actions, the management of Tyson Foods continues to be dedicated to proper animal handling and cultivating our culture to ensure that animals are treated properly,” he said.
Tyson is also planning a video conference with its live production managers at its poultry operations to allow senior managers to emphasize Tyson’s commitment and policies relating to animal welfare.
“We will immediately begin to meet with everyone in our chicken operations who handles live birds to aggressively re-emphasize that every individual who works for our company is responsible for proper animal handling,” said the company’s statement.