Butterball workers convicted of animal cruelty - WECT TV6-WECT.com:News, weather & sports Wilmington, NC

Butterball workers convicted of animal cruelty

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PHOTO:  YouTube pic from Mercy For Animals PHOTO: YouTube pic from Mercy For Animals

RALEIGH, NC (WECT) – Two workers were found guilty of animal cruelty after hidden-camera investigation at Butterball factory farms in North Carolina. 

Terry Johnson and Billy McBride were found guilty by a judge in Raleigh.  In late 2012, two other Butterball workers, Brian Douglas and Ruben Mendoza were also convicted of criminal cruelty to animals from the same investigation. 

The latest conviction marks the first-ever felony conviction for cruelty to factory-farmed poultry in US history. 

"It certainly sets an important legal precedent that animals matter," said Matt Rice, the head investigator for Mercy For Animals.  The agency conducted the undercover investigations.  Rice said it sets an important legal precedent the organization can use in the future to protect more farmed animals in the future. 

The investigation found workers kicking and stomping turkeys at a facility in Shannon in late 2011.  The investigation also found evidence of workers bashing in the heads of live birds with metal bars.  

Butterball has claimed no wrongdoing. 

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