Tyson terminates contract with farmer after alleged abuse

McDonald's chicken supplier launches investigation.

Mercy for Animals (MFA) has released a video of what it claims is a Tyson Foods contract farm owner abusing chickens in his barns, the details of which are quite graphic. Tyson is a supplier to McDonald's.

MFA said in its press release that local law enforcement has launched a criminal animal cruelty investigation.

A Tyson representative told Feedstuffs that the company’s animal well-being team is investigating. However, based on what is already known about the situation, Tyson is terminating the farmer’s contract to grow chickens the company, the representative said, adding that there are currently no chickens on the farm.

“Animal well-being is a priority at our company and we will not tolerate the unacceptable animal treatment shown in this video. We’re especially concerned about the inappropriate methods used to euthanize sick and injured chickens,” the representative said. “We’re committed to animal well-being but don’t believe this video accurately depicts the treatment of chickens by the thousands of farmers who supply us.” 

Tyson has programs and policies in place to protect the health and well-being of all our animals. This includes the Tyson FarmCheck program that involves third-party auditors who check on the farm for such things as animal access to food and water, human-animal interaction and worker training. The company also has veterinary-approved procedures in place for euthanizing sick or injured birds.

McDonald’s USA said in a statement that it believes treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of a responsible supply chain and that it finds the behavior depicted in the video to be completely unacceptable.

“We support Tyson Foods’ decision to terminate their contract with this farmer,” the company said, adding that it is working with Tyson Foods to further investigate this situation and reinforce expectations around animal health and welfare at the farm level.

“We’re committed to working with animal welfare and industry experts to inform our policies that promote better management, strong employee education and verification of practices.”

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