Video uncovered abuse to day-old turkeys at a hatchery owned by Foster Farms, the company that was slated to provide the 2015 Presidential Turkey.

In early 2015, an Animal Outlook (formerly Compassion Over Killing) investigator documented shocking horrors forced upon baby birds—from painful mutilations to being ground up alive—inside a Foster Farms turkey hatchery in Fresno, California.

While Foster Farms may publicly pride itself for its so-called “humane” treatment of birds, our video exposes the cruel and inhumane reality happening behind closed doors. This hidden camera footage offers consumers a glimpse of the miseries that newly-hatched turkeys endure on their first—and sometimes only—day of life.

Our investigation inside Foster Farms reveals:

  • Extreme processing speeds that result in these fragile birds being thrown, tossed, and jostled around on machines
  • Painful mutilations: these baby animals have parts of their toes and beaks burned off without any painkillers. A manager callously joked that these painful practices are  “nose jobs” and “manicures”
  • Sick, injured, or weak birds are set aside and either dumped into a machine to be ground up alive or gassed to death in plastic bags

Our undercover investigator noted a few particularly gruesome scenes:

  • “A worker noted that sometimes people gas the birds incorrectly, which renders the birds temporarily unconscious rather than ‘euthanizing’ them. According to her, another worker discovered chirping birds today when she went to the freezer to discard a cull bag. She warned not to let this occur because if discovered by an inspector the entire facility could get in trouble.”
  • The birds inside the bag appeared to be squirming, gasping, and blinking minutes after the knot had been tied. A manager said that as long as they were not chirping they should be put in the freezer.”
  • “When I returned to check on a couple bags of chicks that had not been properly euthanized 30 minutes later, I noted both bags of culls were still showing signs of life (gasping, moving, blinking).”

Almost 4.5 million baby birds are born into a life of hell at this Foster Farms facility each year. For those who survive this hatchery nightmare, their misery is just beginning. These curious and playful birds will be packed up and shipped out to factory farm where they’ll suffer for the next several months crammed inside dark, feces-filled warehouses before they will be sent off to slaughter.

“The birds inside the bag appeared to be squirming, gasping, and blinking minutes after the knot had been tied.”- Animal Outlook's Investigator

The Truth About Foster Farms “Humane” Claims

Foster Farms knows that consumers are increasingly concerned about animal welfare and has therefore invested in an extensive campaign to convince consumers that they treat their animals well.

Foster Farms is in the process of certifying its turkey production practices as “humane” through the so-called “American Humane Association” (AHA).

Foster Farms chicken already bears the AHA’s seal of approval, but a recent undercover investigation revealing the horrors endured by Foster Farms’ chickens blew the lid off this humane claim scam. Likewise, the reality for Foster Farms turkeys is far from “humane.”

Foster Farms was Slated to Raise the 2015 Presidential Turkey

Our undercover video reveals that Foster Farm turkeys are subjected to harsh processing, painful mutilations, and often gruesome deaths, on their first day of life. Despite all this, Foster Farms was selected to present the “2015 National Thanksgiving Turkey” to President Barack Obama for “pardoning.”

Presidents need to go beyond the symbolic gesture of “pardoning” a turkey who has committed no crime, and instead show compassion for all animals by choosing a meat-free holiday meal. With your support, our petition received nearly 15,000 signatures! Thank you!

Facts About Turkeys & the Turkey Industry:

Did you know?

  • Each year in the U.S., 300 million turkeys are raised and slaughtered each year, and about 45 million turkeys are slaughtered for the holiday season alone.
  • Due to aggressive genetic selection, turkeys are no longer able to mate naturally, and grow unnaturally large excessively quickly. In the 1960s, it took 220 days to raise a 35-pound turkey. Now  it takes only 132 days. This fast growth causes them to suffer from a number of painful chronic health problems.
  • Turkeys are typically raised in dirty warehouse-like sheds with approximately 25,000 other turkeys, and receive about one square foot of space each.
  • Shockingly, there are no federal laws that protect turkeys (or other birds) from the moment they hatch to the moment they’re slaughtered. They’re even exempted from the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.
  • Turkeys can recognize each other by their voices. In fact, more than 20 unique vocalizations have been identified in wild turkeys.
  • Turkeys are incredibly curious animals who enjoy exploring.
  • Turkeys can remember the geographic content of an area larger than 1,000 acres.
  • Wild turkeys can also fly 55 miles an hour and run 18 miles an hour.

Foster Farms Facts:

  • Foster Farms is a California-based poultry company that has annual sales exceeding approximately $3 billion. It is one of the top 8 turkey producers and top ten chicken producers in the U.S.
  • Foster Farms was recently selected to raise the “2015 National Thanksgiving Turkey,” which will be presented to President Obama for “pardoning” this fall. Foster Farms previously raised the 2010 Presidential Turkey.
  • Foster Farms products are sold at major national retailers including Walmart, Costco, Target, Safeway, Albertson’s, and Kroger.
  • Foster Farms advertises its commitment to “humane” treatment of animals and boasts that its chicken is “American Humane Certified.” A recent undercover investigation by Mercy For Animals shows that Foster Farms chickens, like its turkeys, are routinely subjected to shocking abuses.
  • Foster Farms has been plagued with more than its fair share of problems in recent years.  A Foster Farms plant was shut down in 2014 due to a cockroach infestation, and USDA noncompliance records revealed numerous instances of mold and fecal matter contamination.  A Foster Farms’ turkey flock was the first commercial flock to test positive for avian influenza in the U.S. in over a decade, and the company was forced to issue food recalls in 2014 after multiple salmonella outbreaks.

Act Now

Sadly, the abuses documented in our Foster Farms turkey hatchery exposé are considered legal, standard practices — and are forced upon hundreds of thousands of turkeys in the US each year. Fortunately, there are several ways we can stand up for turkeys and all animals!