House of Raeford, one of the largest poultry processors in the country,
was fined this week by the United States Department of Labor for illegally
employing underage workers at its chicken slaughter plant in Duplin County,
NC - its second violation in the past four years. The slaughterhouse also
made national headlines when it was exposed by an MFA investigation in 2007
that revealed horrific cruelty to chickens and turkeys.
Federal officials previously fined the company when a 2008 immigration raid uncovered more than 300 undocumented workers and six underage employees, including a 15-year-old girl, working 10-hour shifts slaughtering chickens. The Charlotte Observer reported that over 20 former and current House of Raeford employees told them that the company frequently hired underage workers to "secure cheap, compliant labor." Because slaughterhouses are among the most dangerous workplaces in the country, federal and state labor laws prohibit anyone under 18 from working on a poultry process line.
House of Raeford has a long record of illegal activity. In 2009, the company settled criminal charges by paying a $1.5 million fine for deliberately hiring undocumented workers, and just two months ago, House of Raeford was convicted on 10 counts of violating the Clean Water Act.
Mercy For Animals' 2007 investigation at House of Raeford Farms revealed that in addition to flouting child labor and environmental laws, the poultry processor has allowed a culture of cruelty and violence to flourish. Workers were filmed violently punching turkeys for "fun," forcefully shoving their hands into the vaginal cavities of live chickens, ripping the heads off live turkeys, and slitting turkeys' throats while they were still fully conscious. Animal welfare authority Dr. Temple Grandin declared upon witnessing the footage: "This is a sloppy poorly managed plant where employees are allowed to abuse animals. ...There are some management people that need to get fired."
Each of us can take a stand against animal abuse, disregard for human safety, and environmental degradation by boycotting animal agribusiness and transitioning toward a vegan diet. Visit ChooseVeg.com for hundreds of delicious recipes and instructional cooking videos.
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