Tyson Foods to investigate claims of chicken abuse

CHICAGO Thu Jan 17, 2008 5:38pm EST

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Tyson Foods Inc., the largest U.S. meat company, said it will investigate allegations by the animal-welfare group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) that chickens were abused and tortured at two of its chicken processing plants.

PETA said an undercover investigator for the group had video documentation of workers throwing live chickens, hitting them with fists, and urinating in an area where the live birds were shackled.

"We're committed to proper animal handling in all aspects of our operations and are conducting our own investigation into the claims by PETA, which is well known for its anti-meat agenda," Tyson said in a statement on Thursday.

Tyson said it also is cooperating with USDA's investigation of the matter.

"Some of the videotaped activities we've seen on-line do warrant investigation; however, others are being misrepresented and sensationalized by PETA," Tyson said.

The plants were in Cumming, Georgia, and Union City, Tennessee.

(Reporting by Bob Burgdorfer; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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