At a press conference in Memphis, PETA vice-president of campaigns Bruce Friedrich showed footage from hidden cameras worn by a PETA member working undercover in both the Union City plant and another plant in Cumming, Georgia.
On the black-and-white video, workers are shown throwing chickens against slaughter equipment, urinating in the live-hang area, and stabbing chickens in the neck. In one scene, a supervisor tells the undercover employee that it's okay to rip chickens heads off when they are stuck in shackles.
"We have found horrific abuse at every Tyson plant we have investigated," says Friedrich. "We keep thinking that it can't get any worse -- and then it does. Its time for Tyson and its major customers, like KFC, to sit down and take serious measures to stop the sadistic abuse that is taking place in its slaughterhouses."
PETA filed complaints with prosecutors in Obion and Weakley counties in Tennessee, and is asking Tyson to fire workers responsible for the abuse documented in the videos, implement new training for workers, and install cameras to monitor workers.
PETA is also asking Tyson to consider phasing in Controlled Atmosphere Killing, a slaughter method that replaces the chickens' oxygen with gases that painlessly euthanize the birds. Many European slaughterhouses have already implemented this method.
- Bianca Phillips