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Last Updated: Friday, 15 September 2006, 13:43 GMT 14:43 UK
Turkey firm advert condemns abuse
Secret footage of turkey at the Bernard Matthews site
The pair were caught on camera playing "bat and ball" with turkeys
Food producer Bernard Matthews has taken out a full-page newspaper advert which condemns cruelty to turkeys.

The advert was published a week after two men contracted to work at the firm's Norfolk plant were given community service for animal cruelty.

Norwich magistrates saw video footage of the pair beating live turkeys.

The Eastern Daily Press advert states: "Our employees... do not abuse turkeys... and we will not and do not tolerate cruelty to our turkeys."

'Derisory' sentences

On 7 September, Norwich magistrates ordered Daniel Palmer, 27, and Neil Allan, 30, both from Dereham, to each carry out 200 hours of community service.

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

Hillside Animal Sanctuary had secretly filmed the pair using poles "like baseball bats" to hit the birds, magistrates heard.

Daniel Palmer, left, and Neil Allan
Daniel Palmer, left, and Neil Allan admitted ill treating birds

Palmer and Allan's lawyer told the court that the two men had been influenced by "peer pressure" and were part of a "culture" at the plant.

The Bernard Matthews advert said the convicted men were sub-contractors, and none of its employees abused turkeys.

"Our employees are conscientious people who work in co-operation with our retail customers, local and national government authorities and various welfare organisations, including the RSPCA."

The advert added: "Many recognise that there is a small minority of individuals who are determined by whatever means possible to discredit the production of livestock for human consumption."

The statement also criticised the sentence imposed by magistrates as "derisory".

Wendy Valentine of Hillside Animal Sanctuary said the advert made her "laugh".

"Why didn't Bernard Matthews or its workers alert the authorities to what the men were doing if they do not tolerate cruelty?" she added.

"We're not biased against Bernard Matthews or anyone else. All we try to do is show it how it is."




SEE ALSO
Turkey cruelty workers sentenced
07 Sep 06 |  Norfolk
Pair face turkey cruelty charges
24 Aug 06 |  Norfolk
Poultry plant workers in protest
25 May 04 |  Norfolk

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