Global Animal Partnership-certified farm supplies turkeys to Whole Foods Markets & Publix
NEW OXFORD, Pennsylvania––The Pennsylvania State Police have informed media that staff are “currently” reviewing video of alleged extensive abuse of turkeys at Plainville Farms facilities near New Oxford, Pennsylvania.
Plainville Farms, advertising that it meets Global Animal Partnership humane standards, supplies turkeys to Whole Foods Markets and Publix, among other customers.
A People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals [PETA] undercover investigator gathered the video of extreme violence to turkeys, posted at https://investigations.peta.org/turkey-abuse-humane-farms/, during just 11 shifts at Plainville Farms barns over 10 days in late July and early August 2021.
“It’s consumer fraud”
The PETA video was shared with Pennsylvania State Police on or before August 13, 2021, when PETA publicist Moira Colley posted a media release beginning, “It’s consumer fraud: Workers kicking, stomping on, and beating turkeys with a heavy rod, as well as pretending to masturbate with a dying female bird are all events caught on camera at a string of ‘humane’-certified farms raising birds for Pennsylvania–based Plainville Farms.
“The company is ‘certified’ by Global Animal Partnership (GAP),” Colley emphasized, “and it claims to consumers that the turkeys it exploits are ‘free from harm,’ boasting that its transport is ‘comfortable’ and ‘stress-free’ for the birds—all of which PETA found to be false.”
Recounted Colley, “PETA’s investigator worked on crews that load turkeys onto slaughterhouse-bound trucks and found that, every night, at every farm, crew members routinely kicked and stomped on the turkeys as hard as they could, including those who were sick, injured, and unable to walk. One crew position is even called the ‘kick’ because that’s the person’s role in loading.
“Supervisor himself kicked turkeys”
“Two workers threw birds at one another for fun,” Colley said, “and one held a garbage bag open like a basketball hoop to toss the birds into. Workers hit turkeys with an iron bar and stood on their heads. They choked, throttled, wrung, and snapped the birds’ necks,” obviously ineptly, “before tossing them aside or dropping them to the floor. Still alive, the turkeys convulsed and were left to die in intense pain.
“Instead of trying to stop this abuse,” Colley continued, “one supervisor himself kicked turkeys and repeatedly encouraged workers to abuse them. He and other workers berated PETA’s investigator for not kicking birds and instead picking them up and calmly herding them, even saying he should ‘get a new job’ since he wouldn’t do things the ‘right’ way by abusing the frightened birds.”
Global Animal Partnership promotes Plainville Farms roasting pans
The PETA investigation coincidentally appears to have begun just after ANIMALS 24-7 on July 18, 2021 published Credibility, GAP? Global Animal Partnership 10 years later, asking rhetorically, “What a difference ten years of Global Animal Partnership have not made for factory-farmed animals!”
Global Animal Partnership, through August 15, 2021, appeared to have made no public mention of the PETA video and allegations. The most recent notice of Plainville Farms on the Global Animal Partnership web site consisted of three mentions of a Plainville Farms roasting pan and meat thermometer offered as prizes in a raffle that ended on May 21, 2021.
“PETA is asking the president of Plainville Farms, Tom Donovan, to ‘terminate the abusive workers’ and for Global Animal Partnership to ‘drastically change its certification program by prohibiting labeling designed to deceive customers,” reported Alastair Talbot of the Daily Mail.
“False ‘humane meat’ claims”
PETA vice president of evidence analysis Daniel Paden asked viewers of the PETA video to “urge Whole Foods and Global Animal Partnership to stop duping consumers with false ‘humane meat’ claims.”
Said PETA executive vice president Tracy Reiman, “Every turkey sandwich represents the pain and fear of a gentle bird who wasn’t shown any kindness in his or her miserable life. PETA reminds kind consumers that the only ‘humane’ meal is a vegan one, and we are ready to help them with their transition.”
Plainville Farms acknowledged “the horrific video of animal abuse that is being circulated in the news and online,” agreeing that “What is shown is horrific, despicable,” but contending that it “goes against everything this company stands for.
“It’s important for incidents like this to come to light,” said Plainville Farms in a media statement, “and we have already launched an internal investigation, from the top down,” pledging that, “If any of our employees were involved, they will be held accountable.”
Insisted Plainville Farms, “We remain committed to setting the gold standard for the health and well-being of our turkeys, and will do whatever it takes to achieve that goal and make sure something like this never happens again.”
But United Poultry Concerns founder Karen Davis was scarcely mollified.
“Here is yet another example of the savage brutality to animals taking place on ‘humane’ farms,” Davis blogged, mindful of many similar past incidents.
(See Fair Oaks Farms stepped in the same crap as the rest of the herd, “No injuries” says Michael Foods of fire that killed 400,000 hens, and Complaining that seals cause “stress,” farm cuts gills from salmon alive.)
“Passing off low animal welfare standards as the gold standard”
“Whole Foods (owned by Amazon) and Global Animal Partnership collude with these ‘humane farms’ to fool the public into believing that these enterprises treat their animals ‘humanely,’ unlike so-called ‘factory farms,’” Davis charged. “This is a big lie. All animal farming is cruel and inhumane, and always was.”
“More than in the past,” observed Farm Forward executive director Andrew deCoriolis in a June 2021 blog posting amplified by the vegan advocacy electronic magazine Sentient Media, “Global Animal Partnership seems dedicated to passing off low welfare standards as the gold standard, thus helping the purveyors of factory-farmed products deceive shoppers.”
deCoriolis echoed decade-old suspicion of Global Animal Partnership voiced by critics ranging from Humane Farm Animal Care founder Adele Douglass, whose husband since 2017 is Meat Industry Hall of Fame founder Chuck Jolley, to Karen Davis, a GAP skeptic from minutes after Whole Foods Markets founder John Mackey announced he was forming it.
Wayne Pacelle & John Mackey
Recalled Huffington Post writer John Sanbonmatsu on June 22, 2016, “Back in 2011, [then Humane Society of the U.S. president Wayne] Pacelle got together with his friend John Mackey, the libertarian union-busting owner of Whole Foods, to create the Global Animal Partnership, a truly Orwellian effort that brought one of the world’s largest retailers of meat under the same roof as the world’s largest animal welfare organization.”
Pacelle in 2016-2017 blogged at least five times about his success in bringing major food industry corporations into Global Animal Partnership. Among those that Pacelle mentioned specifically were Aramark, Campbell Soup, Chipotle, the Compass Group, Nestlé USA, Panera Bread, Ruby Tuesday, Shake Shack, Starbucks, and Subway.
PETA sued against the GAP system
Pacelle began banging the drums for Global Animal Partnership even as PETA and individual activist Lori Grass of Portola Valley, California, waged an attempted class action lawsuit alleging that the Whole Foods Markets use of a five-step rating system for producers of beef, chicken, pork and turkey is a “sham,” summarized Jonathan Stempel of Reuters, “because it was not enforced against suppliers, and the standards were at best little better than normal industry practices.”
The PETA lawsuit––which Pacelle deplored in one of his blog posts––was dismissed on April 27, 2016, Stempel wrote, when “U.S. Magistrate Judge Nathanael Cousins in San Jose, California, said PETA failed to show that Whole Foods’ alleged misrepresentations on in-store signs, placards and napkins defrauded consumers into overpaying.
Wrote Cousins, “Retailers do not have a duty to disclose product information unless it relates to a consumer safety issue.”