An animal rights group is calling for mandatory CCTV monitoring at all Australian abattoirs after distressing footage emerged of turkeys being bashed, kicked and stomped on at a major poultry processing plant in Sydney’s south-west.
RAW VIDEO: Workers at an Ingham poultry plant in Sydney's south west are secretly filmed allegedly abusing live turkeys. WARNING: some viewers may find these images distressing.
Animal Liberation has called for police to investigate the workers who are shown abusing turkeys in the footage, which was recorded covertly at Inghams’ processing plant in Tahmoor over a two-week period in February.
Emma Hurst, from Animal Liberation, said the workers showed complete disregard for the suffering they were inflicting on the turkeys.
"It is as though these animals are mere objects and that they are there for their enjoyment to torture them," Ms Hurst told the ABC.
One veterinarian asked to review the footage and prepare a report for the animal rights group told ABC’s Lateline that it was ‘‘amongst the worst [cases of animal cruelty] I’ve ever seen’’.
‘‘If this sort of behaviour was witnessed in general public, there’d be a huge outcry,’’ said veterinarian Dr Mark Simpson.
The graphic and disturbing footage shows workers as they take turkeys from crates and shackle them before they are stunned and slaughtered.
In one case when a turkey falls to the ground, a worker repeatedly kicks the bird as it flaps about on the floor helplessly.
The worker then picks up the turkey and slams it against a cage, before stomping on the bird’s head repeatedly until it no longer moves. The worker’s colleague looks on, but doesn’t intervene.
In another case, two workers take it in turns to kick and knee a bird as it hangs in its shackles, before the workers appear to celebrate.
Later, one worker is shown checking around a corner, apparently to make sure no one is watching, before lining up a bird and kicking it.
The footage also shows the workers doing a mock chicken dance and clapping.
Animal Liberation claims in some instances, the turkeys’ legs are separated from their bodies while they are still alive.
‘‘These are not mere ‘incidences’, these are intentional acts to cause harm and pain to these animals,’’ Animal Liberation said in a statement.
‘‘This footage is further evidence that abuse to animals in domestic abattoirs is a systemic issue.’’
Dr Simpson said his report would recommend that mandatory video monitoring be introduced at all abattoirs.
In a statement, Inghams CEO Kevin McBain said an investigation had been launched into the ‘‘intolerable incidents’’.
‘‘We condemn the animal abuse we have seen in the footage and will – as a matter of urgency – work to review, retrain and reinforce our animal welfare standards throughout our organisation,’’ he said.
‘‘Inghams has a strong commitment to animal welfare. We have Best Practice Animal Welfare Programs and Standards in place. We work with regulatory animal welfare specialists to ensure these programs are active and operating throughout all aspects of the company. The programs are regularly audited internally and by second and third party auditors to ensure compliance with standards.’’
The ABC said Animal Liberation had handed the footage to police.
NSW Police has been contacted for comment.