An animal rights group is alleging that it has undercover video showing Foster Farms employees abusing chickens at several of the company’s processing plants in Fresno.
Mercy for Animals activists say the video shows workers beating, throwing chickens and “ripping out their feathers for fun.”
A late-morning press conference is planned to show the video and demand that Foster Farms and the American Humane Association, an organization that certified Foster Farms’s animal welfare practices, improve the treatment of the poultry.
Foster Farms is the largest poultry producer on the West Coast with two processing plants in Fresno.
Company officials released a statement Wednesday saying that they have been made aware of the video and have begun a comprehensive investigation to determine the source and location, including cooperating with appropriate authorities.
“The behavior of the individuals in this video is inappropriate and counter to our stringent animal welfare standards, procedures and policies.” the statement said. “Since its founding in 1939, animal welfare has always been a top priority for Foster Farms. We believe raising chickens humanely is simply the right thing to do, and we take our commitment to humane values very seriously.”
Officials also said that Foster Farms’ employees receive annual training in animal welfare policies and the proper handling of birds in their care.
Tony Botti, spokesman for the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, issued a statement when asked if detectives were investigating the allegations against Foster Farms:
“The Fresno County Sheriff’s Office is aware of the allegations Mercy for Animals is making against Foster Farms and we are looking into the matter. The investigation is ongoing and detectives do not have any specific details to release at this time.”
This story will be updated.