A Butterball facility in North Carolina was raided Thursday morning following an undercover investigation by Mercy for Animals.
The MFA says it obtained undercover footage of alleged abuse and neglect at the turkey farm in Shannon, N.C., between November and December 2011.
"Our documentation shows that workers dragged, kicked, hit and beat animals at this facility, and animals were left to suffer and die from broken bones, bloody open wounds and infections," MFA Executive Director Nathan Runkle said.
That footage, along with a legal complaint, was handed over to law enforcement. On Thursday, state law enforcement officials obtained a warrant and raided the facility, MFA said.
"We found that animal abuse was the norm at this Butterball facility and that there was a culture of cruelty and neglect," Runkle said. "We felt Butterball should be held criminally accountable for those acts."
In a statement, Butterball said it has a "zero tolerance policy" for the mistreatment of animals, and that employees found in violation of the policy "will be subject to immediate termination."
"We are currently working with Hoke County government officials regarding allegations of animal cruelty at a farm in North Carolina," Butterball said.
"Butterball takes these allegations very seriously and fully supports the efforts being made on the part of officials."
Butterball insists "all are trained as to proper handling and care of the birds" and "failure to report abuse is in violation of company policy."
The MFA says the video shows employees bashing in the heads of turkeys with metal bars, as well as birds with illnesses or injuries that went untreated.
NBC-17 attempted to speak with Butterball at its headquarters in Garner, however no one would comment on the incidents in question.
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