Mercy for Animals said it shot the footage at T&S Farm in Dukedom, Tennessee, one of the thousands of contract farms that supplies Tyson. It was filmed during July and August by a member of the animal rights’ group, who got a job at the farm in order to investigate the treatment of birds reared for McDonald’s.
In the film, birds can be seen being stabbed with a spiked pole, then thrown into a bucket. Workers are also shown killing birds by crushing their heads with their boots. Elsewhere sick and injured birds lay untreated in sheds.
In a statement, MFA's president, Nathan Runkle said: “This is sickening animal abuse no company with morals should support. McDonald's has not only the power, but also the ethical responsibility to end the worst forms of cruelty to animals in its supply chain.”
Soon after the footage was posted, Tyson announced it would end its business relationship with T&S Farm. In a statement, spokesman Gary Mickelson said: “Based on what we currently know, we are terminating the farmer's contract to grow chickens for us. There are currently no chickens on the farm.”
McDonald’s also issued a statement. “We believe treating animals with care and respect is an integral part of a responsible supply chain and find the behaviour depicted in this video to be completely unacceptable. We support Tyson Foods' decision to terminate their contract with this farmer. We're working with Tyson Foods to further investigate this situation and reinforce our expectations around animal health and welfare at the farm level.
"We're committed to working with animal welfare and industry experts to inform our policies that promote better management, strong employee education and verification of practices.”