Government Corruption Compromises Cruelty Investigation at Butterball

ButterballAbuseA.jpgIn a case of the fox guarding the henhouse, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture is under fire for compromising a criminal animal cruelty investigation at a Butterball turkey factory farm after an official for the agency admitted to warning the company days prior to a raid by state law enforcement officials.

According to a warrant issued for the phone records between Butterball and government officials, Dr. Sarah Mason, the director of Animal Health Programs with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture, improperly leaked information about the criminal investigation and the impending raid to Butterball.

The Department of Agriculture is responsible for ensuring the health of farmed animals in North Carolina, but in this case, according to law enforcement authorities, the agency interfered with a criminal investigation after Mercy For Animals documented routine animal abuse and neglect at Butterball, including:

  • Workers violently kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or into transport trucks in full view of company management;
  • Employees bashing in the heads of live birds with metal bars, leaving many to slowly suffer and die from their injuries;
  • Turkeys covered in flies, living in their own waste, with some unable to access food or water and suffering from severe feather loss
  • Birds suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries, including open sores, infections, rotting eyes, and broken bones; and
  • Severely injured turkeys, unable to stand up or walk, left to die without any veterinary care, because treating sick or injured birds was too costly and time consuming, as the farm manager explained to MFA's investigator.

Watch the undercover investigation into Butterball here:


MFA praises law enforcement for taking swift and decisive action in this important matter. While it is troubling that the government agency charged with overseeing the health of animals has allegedly helped protect a company that was caught abusing and neglecting animals, the good news is that each of us has the power to help prevent animal abuse by transitioning to a healthy and humane vegan lifestyle. Visit to learn more.