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Animal cruelty charges laid against turkey producer and employees

A turkey looks around its enclosure at Seven Acres Farm in North Reading, Massachusetts November 23, 2011, one day before the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.

BRIAN SNYDER/REUTERS

The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty of Animals has laid 11 charges in relation to suspected animal abuse at one of the country's leading turkey producers.

In March, an animal rights group dubbed Mercy for Animals Canada released a video shot at a Hybrid Turkeys plant in Bright, Ont., showing employees clubbing and kicking the birds.

In response to the footage, the Kitchener-based company said it had suspended four employees and called the abuse depicted in the video an isolated incident.

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The SPCA, which conducted an investigation jointly with the Ontario Provincial Police, says it is charging the corporation as well as five employees.

The charges include four counts of causing distress by killing an animal in a manner that causes suffering, two counts of failing to kill an animal by a method that is humane and minimizes pain and distress, three counts of permitting distress, one count of failing to provide adequate medical attention and one count of failing to provide the care necessary for general animal welfare.

The case is set to be brought to the Woodstock, Ont., Provincial Offences court on Aug. 13.

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