Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Turkeys at a Farm in the UK Were Thrown In the Air and Battered With a Pole in Scenes of "Appalling Cruelty" Filmed by Undercover Investigators

Well, sad to see that this type of white trash cruelty isn’t just limited to the US.

Here are some excerpts form the article below:

Laughing and giggling, he lines himself up ready in the middle of the shed as his colleague starts to throw birds in the air.

He is heard shouting in delight as he hits the first one on the head with the broom handle.

Three turkeys are seen flying through the air in the footage, each one battered to the head and neck as it spreads its wings in distress.

Then, as the birds land, the worker is heard laughing again as he hits them with the handle and kicks them around as they try to escape.

Article:

EXCLUSIVE: THE BIRD BATTERER

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/topstories/tm_
objectid=16984564%26method=full%26siteid=
94762-name_page.html

EXCLUSIVE Sick Bernard Matthews worker smashes live turkeys with 5ft wooden pole in a sadistic game of rounders
By Jeremy Armstrong

TURKEYS at a Bernard Matthews farm were thrown in the air and battered with a pole in scenes of "appalling cruelty" filmed by undercover investigators.

These shocking images show workers pretending to play rounders with live birds as they collect them for slaughter.

In a sequence of sickening shots, taken in the early hours in a giant shed at Beck Farm, Haveringland, Norfolk, four men are filmed laughing and joking with each other as one worker kicks the birds around the floor before loading them into containers.

Dressed in overalls and a T-shirt, the man is then heard shouting to his colleague: "You throw them up and I will hit them."

The footage then shows him removing a device used to give water to the birds, known as a drinker, to leave himself a 5ft broom handle.

Laughing and giggling, he lines himself up ready in the middle of the shed as his colleague starts to throw birds in the air.

He is heard shouting in delight as he hits the first one on the head with the broom handle.

Three turkeys are seen flying through the air in the footage, each one battered to the head and neck as it spreads its wings in distress.

Then, as the birds land, the worker is heard laughing again as he hits them with the handle and kicks them around as they try to escape.

The footage was taken by an undercover investigator from Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Frettenham, Norfolk. He secretly filmed the farm workers on Friday in the shed, which holds thousands of birds for Bernard Matthews' multi-million pound empire.

The workers, known as catchers, do night shifts getting the turkeys ready to be transported to other sites.

There they are turned into various Matthews' products - including the infamous Turkey Twizzlers slated by TV chef Jamie Oliver in his crusade for healthier children's food.

The investigator, a 50-year-old cameraman who has worked extensively for the BBC, Channel 4 and newspapers over the past nine years, said: "This is by far the worst cruelty that I have witnessed. When he hit the birds it made a terrible sound. It was sickening."

It is not the first time alleged cruelty has been exposed at a farm run by Bernard Matthews, famed for his catchphrase "Boo tiful, really bootiful".

Six years ago, turkeys in one of the giant sheds were found lying dead by undercover investigators while others had festering wounds. Hundreds of turkeys were seen milling around rotten carcasses. Shocking images showed the live birds occasionally pecking at the bodies of the dead ones.

At the time the company stated: "We answer to the highest levels of officialdom who inspect everything we do." And an independent vet who later inspected the site confirmed there was no "significant" welfare or husbandry problem.

Wendy Valentine, of Hillside, claimed the latest footage showed "grotesque cruelty" and some of the worst images they had filmed in the 11 years since they started investigating the practices of the factory farming industry.

Investigators returned to the shed in the early hours of yesterday. The cameraman claimed: "We found blood where the birds had been." They also allege they found a broom handle with blood on the shaft.

And in daylight, they could also see a sign on a wall which warned workers: "Any employee who abuses turkeys will be subject to instant dismissal. B.T. Matthews, Chairman."

Wendy added: "These shocking, appalling images show acts of dreadful cruelty. These men are taking great pleasure in this sadistic practice. You can clearly see what they are doing, and hear them laughing and joking about it."

Hillside intends to hand the film to the RSPCA, with a view to prosecution. Bernard Matthews, 75, founded his empire 56 years ago.

His adverts have made him one of Britain's best known businessmen.

In a statement last night, Bernard Matthews Ltd said: "We cannot comment on allegations without having seen any evidence. The welfare of our birds is of paramount importance to us.

"Any person found to have compromised our high standards of bird welfare would be liable to disciplinary proceedings which could lead to dismissal."

Company secretary David Reger said: "Hillside have made claims before which have not proven to be substantiated.

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