HR Strange But True!
August 12, 2004

The prosecutor investigating workers' mistreatment of chickens at a West Virginia slaughterhouse says the videotape he's seen so far doesn't support animal-rights advocates' charges of torture.

The secretly recorded footage, released last month by a rights group, shows workers stomping on chickens and slamming them into walls at a Pilgrim's Pride plant in Moorefield, West Virginia.

"From where I stand, I don't think it's torture at this time," Hardy County Prosecutor Lucas See said this week. "It looks as though that was the quickest method they had available to them to kill the birds."

The Associated Press reports that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, which released the footage, now accuses See of not taking the case seriously. See, who cautioned that he still had more videotape to view and workers to interview before making a final decision, said he would not be pressured into prosecuting.

Workers found to have tortured birds could be charged with a felony carrying penalties of up to three years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Misdemeanor animal cruelty is punishable by up to six months in jail and $1,000 in fines.

The debate over criminal charges hasn't stopped Pilgrim's Pride from acting on its own. When the video footage became public, it quickly fired 11 employees.

Source: The Associated Press, via

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