Sara Lee Treats Turkeys with Extreme Cruelty

“Warm-Hearted” Company Heartless Behind the Scenes

A Mother Turkey and Her Young

We picked up and trailed a densely loaded turkey 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.” – Animals’ Angels Investigators, January 25, 2007

Animals’ Angels (, a group that investigates poultry and livestock transport and auctions in Europe and North America, filmed Sara Lee turkeys in cages being trucked to slaughter in Iowa with broken legs, missing toes, and frostbite on their heads and toes. Some birds appeared to be dead, others were crammed into a broken container, and there was a large amount of blood on top of one of the cages. Birds and cages were caked with feces and once the trailer arrived at the slaughter plant (at 6:30 pm), the turkeys had to sit for 2 more hours in the open cold as the trucks waited in line to enter the plant.

On January 26, Animals’ Angels spoke with two Sara Lee men about the turkeys’ exposure to the freezing cold and their frostbitten legs and feet. The men replied: “We cut those parts off.” They said the trucks were not tarped to protect the turkeys from the weather because the turkeys were all coming from within 15 miles of the slaughter plant. According to the investigators, “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."

To view the investigative report online, go to

What Can I Do?

Sara Lee Foods markets its turkey products under brand names that include Hillshire Farms, Jimmy Dean, and Ball Park. Sara Lee owns its own trucks and can easily cover its transport cages with tarpaulins and board up the sides to reduce the turkeys’ exposure to Iowa’s subzero winter weather and freezing winds. (On the Virginia Eastern Shore where United Poultry Concerns is located, many of the trucks taking chickens to slaughter are boarded up in weather not nearly as cold as Iowa.) Tell Sara Lee how shocked you are to learn how cruel they are to these poor birds. Urge the company to cover the trucks taking turkeys to slaughter with tarps and sideboards. It’s the least this billion-dollar company can do to relieve some of the misery of the turkeys. Request a written response. Contact:

Sara Lee Foods
501 Seneca Street
Storm Lake, IA 50588 USA

Sara Lee Consumer Affairs
PO Box 756
Neenah, WI 54957 USA

Sara Lee International
PO Box 2
3500 CA Utrecht
The Netherlands

You can also leave a message for Sara Lee at