A shocking new undercover video reveals egregious acts of violence and abuse at Tyson Foods, the nation’s largest chicken producer, that prompted the company to immediately end the cruel practice of “boning.” Tyson also fired 10 employees, stated it was “disgusted and outraged by what’s shown in this video” and acknowledged that “we must do more to stop this inexcusable behavior.” Read Tyson’s full statement.

Filmed by a COK investigator who worked inside several Tyson facilities throughout Virginia, the footage offers a shocking, never-before-seen look behind the closed doors of chicken breeding factory farms, known as “broiler breeder” farms. This is where America’s chicken dinner begins.

Despite Tyson’s public “Commitment to Animal Well-Being,” including the  “internationally-recognized Five Freedoms,” COK’s video documents a hauntingly different story.

Among the most disturbing acts caught on camera is the inhumane killing of birds, including a Tyson supervisor suffocating animals by standing on their heads and instructing workers to do the same, while admitting it’s against company policy and is cruel.

“This ain’t the right way to do it now, but he bloody, get all over my gloves. But you can’t let nobody see you doing this, ‘cause it will get you terminated…it’s got him suffering doing this to him…”

- Tyson supervisor

explains on hidden camera while he’s killing a bird by stepping on his head

COK’s undercover video also reveals:

  • Tyson workers punching and kicking live birds
  • Birds crushed to death by transport crates and run over by forklifts
  • Chickens swung around by their wings and thrown across sheds
  • Workers shoving and slamming birds into transport cages

“This level of violence and abuse is so egregious, it violates Virginia state animal protection laws — and it violates consumer trust. Tyson should be held accountable for the horrors inflicted upon these animals,” says Compassion Over Killing Executive Director, Erica Meier. “Tyson, the titan of this industry, is literally crushing the life out of birds.”

Captured for perhaps the first time up close on camera, COK’s investigator also documented the brutal and unnecessary practice of “boning” — a practice only used in the broiler breeder industry. Performed without pain relief, “boning” involves workers grabbing young male breeder birds by their heads and stabbing a dull plastic rod (called a “bone”) through their sensitive nostrils. The wide “bone” is intended to limit the birds’ food intake in order to curb their growth.

Update: After viewing our video, Tyson announced it is immediately ending this cruel practice of “boning.”

COK submitted its evidence to relevant county authorities, calling for prompt enforcement action. The cases are currently under investigation. 

Based in Arkansas, Tyson is a major supplier to McDonald’s, Burger King, Walmart, KFC, Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-Aand other food service giants.


Investigation Impact

Tyson & Other Top Poultry Companies End Cruel Practice!

Victory: After viewing our video, Tyson issued a statement announcing that it will immediately stop this cruel practice of stabbing a dull plastic “bone” through the nostrils of young male breeder birds!

More impact: Since Tyson made this important announcement, COK has been reaching out to other companies about the cruel “boning” practice. So far Perdue and Wayne Farms have responded to us stating they have now also eliminated this practice, and House of Raeford is phasing it out by early 2018!

2018 update: 17 of the top 20 US poultry producers have confirmed to COK that they have stopped or not use “nose bones!”

We are encouraging other companies to follow this lead — though much more still needs to be done:

“They going to kick, they more they kick, you squeeze on that head.”

- Tyson supervisor

What is “Boning”? COK’s video prompts Tyson to end this barbaric practice

After viewing COK’s investigative video, Tyson announced that it is immediately ending the painful and barbaric practice of stabbing a dull plastic rod, called a “bone,” into the sensitive nostrils of young male breeder birds before they are transferred to a breeder house with females.

During the “boning” process, these male birds are rounded up, grabbed one by one by their wings or head, and workers forcefully insert the bone. As the chickens struggle desperately to escape during this painful and frightening process, workers respond by handling the birds with increasing aggression and violence.

In a statement regarding COK’s footage, Dr. Ian Duncan, an internationally renowned poultry welfare expert, said boning“causes severe pain” for the birds, and that the rods can become entangled in netting, as COK’s investigator documented while freeing a struggling chicken from a net (seen below). Dr. Duncan is Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph.

Why is this practice done? The wide plastic “bones” physically block the birds from accessing certain food dispensers, severely restricting the birds’ food intake.

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Birds raised for meat are genetically manipulated to grow so obese, so quickly that they commonly suffer from various health ailments, including leg deformities and heart attacks, that can be fatal. In order to keep breeder birds alive for up to two years, their feed is severely restricted to prevent the birds from becoming overweight, even though this is specifically what they are selectively bred to do.

As a result, broiler breeders spend their lives in perpetual starvation.

Based in Springdale, Arkansas, Tyson Foods is the nation’s largest chicken producer, supplying major food service companies including McDonald’s, Burger King, Walmart, KFC, Wendy’s, Chick-Fil-A and others.

Among the brands owned by Tyson are Jimmy DeanHillshire FarmBall Park, and Sara Lee.

Despite Tyson’s public “Commitment to Animal Well-Being,” including the  “internationally-recognized Five Freedoms,” COK’s video documents a hauntingly different story, including never-before-seen footage of what is known as “boning” inside a broiler breeder factory farm.

This is not the first time Tyson Foods has been exposed for egregious animal abuse, demonstrating that torture is a standard practice for this industry titan.

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“ “This is gross cruelty causing unnecessary pain and suffering and a contravention of animal cruelty laws in all civilized countries.”

- Ian J.H. Duncan

Emeritus Chair in Animal Welfare at the University of Guelph

Act Now

Tyson Exposed Again: Take Action for Chickens!

Compassion Over Killing’s investigators shine a bright light into the darkest corners of animal agribusiness, exposing the brutal treatment of farm animals kept hidden behind closed doors.

Sadly, the abuses documented at Tyson are not isolated incidents. Our newest footage marks the second time in little more than a year that we have exposed systematic animal abuse within this chicken titan’s supply chain.

Thankfully, there are simple steps YOU — and each one of us — can take to make a difference for farm animals.