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McDonald’s, Tyson cut ties with chicken supplier accused of cruelty

McDonald’s and Tyson Foods have cut ties with one of its chicken suppliers after an advocacy group released a video that the group says shows operators abusing chickens on the Tennessee poultry farm.

Mercy for Animals released the video. The animal rights group claims it has released nearly 40 similar videos in the past, Associated Press reports.

The grueling footage, which was obtained using a hidden camera, shows people beating the chickens with a nail attached to a pole and tossing them into buckets meant for the dead, according to the Washington Post.

Mercy for Animals said in a statement that the video revealed birds being “painfully beaten, stabbed, and impaled on makeshift clubs” at T&S Farms in Dukedom, Tenn. It also demonstrated “farm owners stepping on the heads of live chickens and then pulling their wings or bodies to break their necks, chickens bred to grow so fast they became crippled under their own weight and frequently died from organ failure, hundreds of thousands of birds crammed into filthy, windowless sheds forced to live for weeks in their own waste.”

Tyson Foods quickly cut ties with the farm when the video was released Thursday. The company said in a statement that they are still investigating the situation.

However, they terminated the farmer’s contract “based on what we currently know.” Tyson’s spokeswoman Worth Sparkman said that the company is “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.”

McDonald’s supported Tyson’s decision to get out of business with the farmer. “We’re working with Tyson Foods to further investigate this situation and reinforce our expectations around animal health and welfare at the farm level,” McDonald’s said in a statement.

According to Mercy for Animals, the farm supplied chicken for McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets. McDonald’s said that it also supplied the chicken in other items such as its McChicken sandwich and deep-fried and grilled chicken fillets.

Matt Rice, director of investigations for Mercy for Animals, that this is not uncommon. The group’s investigators often come back from farms with images that “shock and horrify” them. “Unfortunately this type animal abuse runs rampant in the animal agriculture industry,” Rice said.

Mercy for Animals is pushing McDonald’s to tell their suppliers to make several changes to their farming practices, including providing birds with more space and putting an end to selective breeding processes, USA Today reports. Rice said that McDonald’s should do more than just end one contract with one farm.

“What we’re asking McDonald’s to do is end animal abuse throughout its entire supply chain by adopting meaningful animal welfare requirements for all of its suppliers,” Rice said.

About Meredith Rodefer

Meredith Rodefer
Meredith Rodefer is a freelance writer, who focuses on anything from lifestyle blogging to hard news, and dancer. Beyond Youth Independent, she has written for sites such as Natmonitor.com, CheekyChicago.com and FamilyFocusBlog.com. Contact Meredith: meredith.rodefer@youthindependent.com