An animal rights group is calling for mandatory CCTV monitoring at all Australian abattoirs after distressing footage emerged of turkeys being bashed, kicked and stomped on at a major poultry processing plant in Sydney’s south-west.
INGHAMS ABATTOIR 2013 – Video at bottom of page, Viewer Discretion Advised
If this sort of behaviour was witnessed in general public, there’d be a huge outcry
Animal Liberation has called for police to investigate the workers who are shown abusing turkeys in the footage, which was recorded covertly at Inghams’ processing plant in Tahmoor over a two-week period in February.
Emma Hurst, Animal Liberation’s campaign manager, said 140 hours of footage was handed anonymously to the animal rights group several days ago. The footage had been time-stamped, and the organisation was confident it was authentic.
It was unclear whether a worker was responsible for placing the hidden camera inside the abattoir, she said.
Ms Hurst said Animal Liberation had identified in the footage 136 instances of animal cruelty and aggravated animal cruelty – which was classified as cruelty that was so bad it led to the animal’s death, or injuries so severe it would be cruel to keep the animal alive.
Ms Hurst said the turkeys weighed between eight and 17 kilograms each, and their legs were sometimes torn off when they were shackled upside down.
‘‘Hanging upside down, their legs are already brittle, and we’ve got footage as well where their legs have actually ripped off from their bodies … and the legs have been tossed around,’’ Ms Hurst said.
‘‘You can see a total disrespect of these animals. There are scenes where they’ve put the music up very, very loud, the workers are screaming, jumping about, dancing, picking up the turkeys, dancing while holding onto the turkeys, throwing them onto the shackles, and just that whole mentality as though these animals don’t have feelings, that they’re objects.’’
Ms Hurst said the footage had been handed to the NSW Police Assistant Commissioner for Rural Crime, and to rural crime detectives in Campsie.
One veterinarian asked to review the footage and prepare a report for the animal rights group told ABC’s Lateline that it was ‘‘amongst the worst [cases of animal cruelty] I’ve ever seen’’.
‘‘If this sort of behaviour was witnessed in general public, there’d be a huge outcry,’’ said veterinarian Dr Mark Simpson.
The graphic and disturbing footage shows workers as they take turkeys from crates and shackle them before they are stunned and slaughtered.
In one case when a turkey falls to the ground, a worker repeatedly kicks the bird as it flaps about on the floor helplessly. The worker then picks up the turkey and slams it against a cage, before stomping on the bird’s head repeatedly until it no longer moves. The worker’s colleague looks on, but doesn’t intervene.
In another case, two workers take it in turns to kick and knee a bird as it hangs in its shackles, before the workers appear to celebrate. Later, one worker is shown checking around a corner, apparently to make sure no one is watching, before lining up a bird and kicking it.
‘‘These are not mere ‘incidences’, these are intentional acts to cause harm and pain to these animals,’’ Animal Liberation said in a statement. ‘‘This footage is further evidence that abuse to animals in domestic abattoirs is a systemic issue.’’
Dr Simpson said his report would recommend that mandatory video monitoring be introduced at all abattoirs. In a statement, Inghams CEO Kevin McBain said an investigation had been launched into the ‘‘intolerable incidents’’.
‘‘We condemn the animal abuse we have seen in the footage and will – as a matter of urgency – work to review, retrain and reinforce our animal welfare standards throughout our organisation,’’ he said.
‘‘Inghams has a strong commitment to animal welfare. We have Best Practice Animal Welfare Programs and Standards in place. We work with regulatory animal welfare specialists to ensure these programs are active and operating throughout all aspects of the company. The programs are regularly audited internally and by second and third party auditors to ensure compliance with standards.’’ “Doesn’t appear to be working, does it!”
NSW Police has been contacted for comment.
INGHAMS ABATTOIR 2013
Notes & Time Of Abusive Actions
0:00 Handheld close-up of shackles, beyond the shackling room
0:07 Filth accumulated on ledge above shackling area, including severed feet that have been thrown up there
0:36 Pan down over shackling room
0:46 Birds in truck outside, approx 4:15am (arrived 3:45am).
1:34 Another truck already inside shackling room (arrived 2:45am).
1:59 Truck entering shackling room, as seen from all three cameras (timestamp not important – just for perspective)
2:21 Monday 18-2-2013
2:26 Worker slams bird on the ground, then shackles, and knees
2:43 Worker walks past and lightly punches bird who has poked his head out of the truck, comes back and keeps pushing the bird back in, slaps, air-boxes
3:18 Worker (bottom of left screen, top of right screen), tickles bird who has poked his head out of the truck, then slaps him with the other hand
3:36 Worker (bottom of left screen, top of right screen) slams shackled bird against the wall
3:43 Worker (bottom of left screen, top of right screen) pulls dead bird from the truck and throws away
3:50 Worker punches bird, continues shackling, then walks down the line to punch the same bird again
4:08 Dead bird chucked off the side
4:17 Dead bird chucked off the side
4:23 Worker retrieves a severed foot and throws it upwards
4:32 Handheld close-up of severed foot left up on the walkway above the shackling area
4:38 Worker kicks bird
4:49 Tuesday 19-2-2013
4:54 Worker knees bird
5:03 Worker lightly boxing shackled birds
5:22 Worker in bottom left is holding a severed foot, seems to reach it into the truck to stir other birds
5:28 Worker punches bird
5:36 Worker punches bird twice, second worker punches another bird twice and then walks off dancing, first worker punches another bird
6:04 Worker kicks bird
6:18 Worker knees bird, second worker kicks the same bird, then waits further down the line and kicks the same bird twice more, then appears to throw something or hit a bird with it (another severed foot?). Both workers start jumping up and down. Second worker pulls shackled bird back and then slams against the wall. Second worker climbs onto shackle line and rides it while first worker dances. First worker shackles a bird and then slams against the wall.
8:09 Worker kicks bird three times, then kicks another bird twice,
8:55 Worker teases and slaps bird poking his head out of the truck, lets him fall down onto the platform
9:10 Worker pulls bird from truck and throws onto the ground, then picks him up, shackles him, and punches him twice
9:28 Bird falls from truck. Worker walks over and kicks the bird, picks him up and breaks him on his knee, drops him, kicks him again. Continues shackling while the bird sits on the platform flapping. Comes back, picks up the bird and slams onto the ground, and then against the side of the truck four times, drops him, and stomps on his head/neck/body 10 times. Kicks once more. Eventually comes back and picks up the bird, throw off the platform.
11:08 Worker holds shackled bird’s head to the truck so that the body stretches as the line moves, then lets go so the bird snaps back
11:26 Worker (bottom of left screen, top of right screen) knees shackled bird. Second worker waits for the same bird to reach him, then knees and then kicks him
12:04 Worker attached shackled bird’s head to the truck so that the body stretches as the line moves, then lets go so the bird snaps back (similar to 11:08 but different bird)
12:28 Wednesday 20-2-2013
12:33 Worker throws dead bird off platform
12:45 Worker punches two separate birds
13:14 Workers running onto the scene, first kicks a shackled bird
13:28 Worker throws two separate dead birds off platform
13:54 Worker punches bird
14:04 Worker climcs onto side of truck and dances on it, then pretends to box the bird the other worker is holding
14:19 Worker kicks bird five times
14:44 Worker carries dead bodies out of shackling room (there were several other occurrences of this, which are included on the longer edit)
14:59 Worker starts jumping and dancing, shakes whole platform / line of shackles
15:26 Worker throws dead bird off platform
15:33 Worker slams bird on the ground, then shackles
15:49 Bird (bottom of left screen, top of right screen) is pulled very roughly from the truck
16:05 Worker (top of screen) slams bird at shackles before properly shackling
16:14 Thursday 21-2-2013
16:19 Worker pulls a feather from the bird (who reacts strongly) to throw at another worker out of view
16:30 Three workers dancing, one while holding a bird. Then the third continues dancing while holding another bird, and later pulls feathers from shackled birds to throw at other worker, and knees a bird three times.
18:24 Workers rush onto scene and pull pirds out to shackle very quickly
18:45 Worker starts jumping and dancing, shakes whole platform / line of shackles
19:31 Worker pulls feathers from birds as they pass, to throw at another worker out of view
19:56 Worker kicks bird four times, other worker waits for the same bird to reach him, knees three times; kicks another bird four times. First worker punches bird twice. Second worker waits for the same bird to reach him, then appears to hold him up and break his neck (?) – bird remains on shackles. Second worker kicks a bird five times from 24:07.
25:13 Worker kicks bird twice, second worker kicks (the same?) bird
25:38 Worker kicks bird twice
25:49 Worker does a mock chicken dance
26:04 Dancing and clapping
26:20 Worker chucks dead bird off platform
26:27 Worker kicks bird
26:34 Clear, up-close vision of shackling. One bird may have a broken leg?
26:54 Friday 22-2-2013
26:58 Worker kicks bird
27:07 Worker punches bird
27:16 Monday 11-2-2013 to Thursday 14-2-2013
27:21 Worker throws severed foot
27:28 Handheld vision of severed foot on the stunning bench
27:32 Another severed foot thrown
27:36 Another severed foot thrown
27:43 Line has stopped, worker kicks bird 8-9 times
28:41 Worker kicks bird