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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 September 2006, 12:08 GMT 13:08 UK
Turkey cruelty workers sentenced
Secret footage of turkey at the Bernard Matthews site
The pair were caught on camera playing "bat and ball" with turkeys
Two men who were secretly filmed beating turkeys with a stick have been ordered to do community service.

Norwich magistrates were told that Daniel Palmer, 27, and Neil Allan, 30, both from Dereham, Norfolk, used poles "like baseball bats" to hit turkeys.

Both men admitted causing cruelty on 21 April this year at Bernard Matthews' Beck Farm in Felthorpe, near Norwich.

Allan said he was suffering from stress and saw it as a form of anger release. Palmer said he was ashamed.

Jonathan Eales, prosecuting on behalf of the RSPCA, told magistrates that Palmer and Allen were both employed on contracts to work as turkey catchers.

Mr Eales said undercover investigators who filmed them heard Allen say "you throw them, I'll hit them".

'Appalling conditions'

He said: "They were using poles which they had been using to help round up the turkeys and these were used like a baseball bat.

"(A vet) who saw the tape described the abuse as the most hideous and blatant actions he had seen in 25 years as a vet."

Simon Nicholls, defending both men, said he could offer no mitigation for what they had done.

He said there was an irony in the fact the turkeys were going to be killed in any event.

Mr Nicholls said the turkeys were kept in "appalling conditions".

"Imagine working in that environment on a long term basis - it must be terrible," he said.

The pair were each ordered to complete a 200-hour community order.

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