Updated at the bottom with a statement from Butterball, which says the action caught on tape was under investigation. First posted at 12:03 p.m.

Pretty soon animal rights activists will be decrying the suffering of corn — all that slow grilling and hot butter. The humanity.

For now, however, the movement is slowly approaching everything on your dinner table, even the sanctity of America's Thanksgiving meal.

That's right, turkey abuse is a thing now. Is anything sacred?

The Los Angeles-based group Mercy For Animals today unveiled video it says …

… shows workers kicking and stomping on birds, dragging them by their fragile wings and necks, and maliciously throwing turkeys onto the ground or on top of other birds. It also shows turkeys suffering from serious untreated illnesses and injuries left to slowly suffer and die.

Way to warm up the season, Mercy.

The tape, revealed at an 11 a.m. press conference downtown today, was taken at Butterball factories, including one in North Carolina.

Mercy says it's similar to similar video captured last year that “resulted in criminal animal cruelty convictions for Butterball employees.”

Yep, turkey production is a dirty business, it would seem. The group claims that the beasts are bred to grow too big too fast and end up with bone defects, crippling deformities and even heart attacks.

Mercy's executive director Nathan Runkle:

Butterball has once again been caught in the act of subjecting animals to horrific cruelty and violence and should be held criminally accountable. Before ending up on Thanksgiving dinner plates, turkeys killed for Butterball are routinely crowded into filthy warehouses, left to die from festering, bloody wounds, and thrown, kicked, and beaten by factory farm workers.

So now we gotta eat Tofurky?

Bon appetit.

[Update at 5:18 p.m.]: Butterball sent this statement to the Weekly:

Butterball is aware of the video released today by Mercy for Animals, and we take any allegations of animal mistreatment very seriously. As has been our long-standing policy, we have a zero tolerance policy for animal abuse. Any employee found to have violated our animal care and well-being guidelines, as well as any employee who witnessed abuse and failed to report it, will be terminated. Butterball's guidelines are based on guidelines developed by the National Turkey Federation that have been approved by animal well-being experts including Dr. Joy Mench at University of California at Davis, Dr. Janice Swanson from Michigan State University and Dr. Gail Golab at the American Veterinary Medical Association, among others.

When we learn of any instances of animal mistreatment, we take immediate corrective action to suspend workers involved, conduct a swift investigation and terminate their employment with the company. Upon learning of these new concerns, we immediately initiated an internal investigation and suspended the associates in question. Pending the completion of that investigation, Butterball will then make a determination on additional actions including immediate termination for those involved.

Animal care and well-being is central to the operations of our company, and we remain committed to the ethical and responsible care of our turkey flocks.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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