Sara Lee Foods
501 Seneca Street
Storm Lake, Iowa
Ph: (712) 732-3206
(meat marketed under
Hillshire Farm name)
January 25, 2007
We picked up and trailed a densely loaded turkey truck (DOT 301978, #148 on side and back of truck) just outside of Des Moines, Iowa. We followed the truck for 4 hours to its destination – Sara Lee Foods in Storm Lake, Iowa. The truck was without tarps (as were all Sara Lee trucks carrying turkeys), affording the birds no protection from the cold and wind. Many of the turkeys were in very poor shape with broken legs, missing digits and signs of frostbite on their heads and toes. A few appeared dead and some were crammed into a broken container. There was a large amount of blood on the ceiling of one of the cages. Many of the birds had badly soiled, feces-caked keels indicating that they had been nonambulatory for sometime.
Once the trailer arrived at the plant (at 6:30 pm), the turkeys still had another 2-hour wait in the open cold as the truck had to queue up to enter the facility.
January 26, 2007
Concerned with the state of the birds and the lack of protection afforded them, we asked to speak with the facility manager. Instead two men from Human Resources spoke to us. When we expressed our concern about the birds being unduly exposed to the cold and developing frostbite on their legs and feet they responded: “We cut those parts off”. When we tried to re-explain that our concern was for the welfare of these birds while they are alive and that they are suffering needlessly, they again reiterated: “By the time the USDA inspector gets to them, those parts are already cut off”. Finally they told us the reason the trailers were not tarped was because the turkeys were all coming from within 15 miles of the facility. This was hard to believe since we’d just trailed one of their trucks for 4 hours and watched as that trailer waited in line for an additional 2 hours.
Given that Sara Lee owns its own trucks the addition of a tarp to protect the birds would not be difficult. We will follow up with senior management of Sara Lee to make this request.
Animals’ Angels specializes in fighting poultry and livestock transport and conducts investigations at live animal markets and auctions in Europe and North America. For information: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.animals-angels.de