A worker at a Perdue Farms contract poultry operation in Richmond County has been arrested and charged with four counts of felony animal abuse. An advocacy group's undercover video showed workers kicking the birds like footballs and spinning them by their heads to break their necks.
Perdue issued a statement condemning the abuse, and said the company has moved the flock and will review oversight operations.
Matt Rice directs investigations at Mercy for Animals, which recorded the video evidence. Rice says the organization will turn its attention to fighting a new North Carolina law banning secret filming at farms as of January 2016.
"This ag-gag bill is designed specifically to prohibit undercover investigations at factory farms across North Carolina. So once this bill takes effect it will help to perpetuate animal abuse in North Carolina's factory farms," he said.
Perdue spokeswoman Julie DeYoung says the company has not taken a position on the legislation.
A federal court overturned a similar "ag-gag" law in Idaho this summer, citing First Amendment protections for free speech.