A video released by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals, which shows the inhumane slaughter of chickens at a Foster Farms plant in Fresno County, California, has led to the suspension of five employees as well as the launch of a criminal investigation by the local sheriff’s office.
The video, which was uploaded to YouTube, shows a range of violent acts imposed on the birds, including chickens being scalded to death in a tank, employees throwing and punching birds, and other methods of abuse.
Foster Farms, whose label includes a seal from the American Humane Association, released a written statement in response to the footage.
“It is Foster Farms' policy to take disciplinary action against animal welfare violations up to and including termination of employees,” the company announced. “Foster Farms is reinforcing animal welfare training companywide and in its plants.”
Foster Farms also confirmed that it has been cooperating with the criminal investigation.
Following a meeting with Foster Farms officials, a representative for the American Humane Association told The Los Angeles Times that the video footage was “surprising,” given that the company was known for its “culture of humane treatment.”