Butterball Worker Pleads Guilty to Felony Cruelty to Animals
Joe Borlik, WGHP, Reporting
RALEIGH, N.C. — A worker at a North Carolina Butterball Turkey factory farm was sentenced to 30 days in jail after officials said he was caught on camera violently kicking and stomping on birds.
Brian Gerrard Douglas pleaded guilty Tuesday to felonious cruelty to animals, after prosecutors showed video of him and other employees dragging the animals by their wings and necks.
Officials said the video showed them forcefully throwing turkeys, and bashing in the heads of live birds with metal bars in the Shannon plant.
Authorities said the video was shot last November and December by an undercover investigator from Mercy For Animals.
Officers from the Hoke County Sheriff’s Office said they raided the plant late last year after receiving the video and later arresting Douglas and four others.
“Butterball allowed a culture of cruelty and abuse to fester at its company-owned factory farms,” said MFA’s Executive Director Nathan Runkle, according to a prepared statement. “Before ending up in restaurants and grocery stores, turkeys killed for Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, neglected to die from infected, bloody wounds, and thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers.”
Officials said Douglas’ 30 days in jail will be followed by six months intensive probation and 36 months of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay $550 in fees and fines, and provide a DNA sample to the state, and will be subject to warrantless searches.
Four other Butterball employees were also charged with cruelty to animals and their cases are still pending.
Visit ButterballAbuse.com to view the undercover footage. (WARNING: Grapic)