Undercover video targets chicken industry

UPDATED: MFA releases hidden footage filmed at two facilities owned by former Chick-fil-A supplier, Koch Foods.


Animal rights group, Mercy for Animals (MFA) released another hidden video of animal abuse targeting the chicken industry and American fast food chain Chick-fil-A.

The video, released Nov 19, shows images of workers carelessly grabbing birds, kicking birds and hastily handing the animals during transport and processing.  The surveillance footage was taken at a chicken farm in Puckett, Miss. and processing plant in Chattanooga, TN. Owned by Koch Foods, according to the MFA press release.

After reviewing the video, animal welfare expert Temple Grandin said in statement to MFA dated March 2014, “My overall evaluation of this plant is that it has sloppy practices with no overt animal abuse.”

Tom Super, the National Chicken Council (NCC) vice president of communication, told Feedstuffs that chicken farmers and processors recognize that they have an ethical obligation to make sure that the animals on their farms and at their plants are well cared for.”

Moreover, he added, NCC offer a set of up-to-date animal welfare guidelines -based on science-based recommendation from an academic advisory panel consisting of poultry welfare experts and veterinarians- for the proper treatment and humane care of broilers from hatch to harvest.

NCC members use these guidelines as basis for animal welfare programs along with standards set by companies and customers.  In addition, broiler companies undergo internal animal welfare audits by independent third parties and/or by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

According to the NCC established animal welfare standards some of the handling techniques illustrated in the video would not be normal industry procedures.

Super explained, “On the farm, our guidelines state that birds must never be lifted, carried or drug by the wing or neck and birds must never be thrown.  NCC and our member companies do not condone, and in fact, denounce, any practices that are not in accord with chicken industry guidelines and best practices.”

However, Carrie Kurlander, Chick-fil-A public relations vice president, explained to Feedstuffs that Chicago-based Koch Foods has not been a supplier of Chick-fil-A since April 2013.

Still, MFA, have recently released a series of animal cruelty undercovered video to promote a vegan lifestyle and demanding food companies like Chick-fil-A to adopt strict animal welfare standards for suppliers.

Kurlander said “As a values-based organization, we strictly partner with suppliers who share in our goal of responsible environmental stewardship, and maintain our values throughout all animal welfare and management practices. We wholly support the humane treatment of all animals and do not condone their mistreatment at any point along the supply chain.”

Koch Foods were unavailable for comment.

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