The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) has filed animal cruelty charges against 11 people for alleged inhumane treatment of turkeys at seven farms across central and southeastern Pennsylvania.
The workers were employed by Plainville Farms of New Oxford to capture and crate turkeys that were destined for food processing plants. The investigation began in August 2021 and resulted from a complaint filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). A PETA employee witnessed the actions of the turkey catchers.
PETA said it was the largest number of charges in any factory-farmed animal case in U.S. history.
PETA said its investigator showed that the workers had kicked and stomped on turkeys, including birds who were sick, injured, and unable to walk and that an employee supervisor also participated in the treatment.
“Nothing can take back the suffering that all these helpless and gentle turkeys endured at Plainville Farms, but these charges show other meat companies that cruelty has consequences,” said PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA encourages anyone upset at what these battered birds endured to avoid complicity in the abuse on factory farms by choosing vegan meals.”
PSP said criminal complaints were filed by Corporal Michael Spada, animal cruelty officer in the Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Investigative Services Section, and that the alleged abused occurred at farms in Chester, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Perry and Union counties.
“This was a lengthy, detailed investigation that involved reviewing a lot of evidence at multiple locations,” said Spada. “I’d like to thank the outside agencies for their involvement and Plainville Farms for their cooperation.”
The charges include six felony counts of aggravated cruelty to animals, 76 misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty, and 57 related summary offenses.
PETA said it had submitted a complaint to the Federal Trade Commission alleging that Plainville is engaging in false advertising by making claims on its packaging that turkeys on its suppliers’ farms are “humanely raised” in a “stress-free environment.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.