Have you ever wondered about the ingredients in the Colonel's secret recipe chicken? If the flesh came from Tyson Foods, a major KFC supplier, there's a chance the big secret is that the bird was coated in human waste before reaching the dinner plate.
PETA conducted an undercover investigation in 2004/2005 at a Heflin, Alabama, Tyson slaughterhouse, but even that did not prepare us for the disgusting acts that would be documented during two 2007 investigations. On nine separate days, PETA's investigator saw workers urinating in the live-hang area, including on the conveyor belt that moves birds to slaughter.
The investigator also documented sickening cruelty to animals in both the Georgia and Tennessee slaughterhouses. Supervisors at both facilities either were directly involved in the abuse or were made aware of it by the investigator—but they did not stop it. In addition to the cuts and broken limbs suffered by live chickens at nearly every slaughterhouse, the investigator documented the following:
- One worker admitted that he broke a chicken's back by beating the bird against a rail, a back-up killer stabbed birds in the neck area with knives, and several birds were hung from shackles by their necks instead of by their legs.
- PETA's investigator caught on videotape a supervisor telling him that it was acceptable to rip the heads off live birds who had been improperly shackled by the head.
- Workers—sometimes standing 4 to 6 feet away from the conveyor belt—violently threw birds at the shackles. Some animals slammed into the shackles and fell onto birds on the conveyor belt below, at which point the worker sometimes repeated the abuse.
- Birds died when their heads and legs became trapped under a door at the end of the conveyor belt that transported live birds to be hung. A supervisor was aware of this problem but did nothing to stop it.
- The killing-machine blade often cut birds' bodies instead of their throats. Although aware of this problem, a supervisor offered no solution, instead blaming the problem on the "nature of the machine."
PETA has written to Tyson Foods and asked the company to fire all the workers who were responsible for the abuse documented in these two facilities, immediately install video cameras on all killing floors and in all hang areas, and hire its own undercover investigators to look for and report cruelty. We are also calling on Tyson and KFC to phase in a far less cruel method of slaughter known as controlled-atmosphere killing, which would eliminate worker contact with live animals.
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