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Will the Butterball Raid Yield Any Real Results?

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's North Carolina News page and our Factory Farming & Food page.
If turkey were beer, Butterball would have the brand power of Budweiser, Miller, and Coors combined. From six plants, the company produces 1 billion pounds of turkey each year and exports the meat to over 50 countries.

Given this dominance, the Butterball brand has been a priceless asset to the company -- until Thursday morning. At about 9:00 a.m., officers from the local sheriff's office raided a Butterball semen collection facility in Shannon, N.C. (Industrially bred Broad-Breasted White turkeys must be artificially inseminated to reproduce.) The raid has not yet produced confirmed arrests, but if the events of the past year are any guide, the police action could mark a turning point in Butterball's history.

The raid occurred in response to an undercover investigation by the nonprofit animal advocacy group Mercy For Animals (MFA) that took place over the past two months. The group posted this graphic video on YouTube just minutes after the raid began. The video shows turkeys being kicked, beaten with a metal rod, dragged by their necks, and thrown violently into cages.

Although MFA is well known for urging its audience to adopt a vegan diet, one doesn't have to be vegan -- or even plan to become one -- to find this type of footage disturbing. And yet, because there's no shortage of such images, it's easy to wonder: Will the release of this video  -- and the subsequent raid -- make any real difference in the long term?


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