The undercover worker, who was not identified, described stifling, dusty barns where the animals were kept and caught video of several workers killing turkeys, slamming them into metal cages and bragging about previous abuse of the animals.
A company official told The New York Times that they "condemn the abuse of any of the animals in our care and will take swift action to address these issues." They said they would investigate the allegations, which could lead to firing employees who were involved.
The name of the undercover worker was not released. The animal rights group said it filed a criminal complaint of animal cruelty in the county where the farms are located. A dispatcher in the Greenbrier County sheriff's office was unable to confirm whether the complaint had been filed Tuesday night.
Norfolk, Va.-based PETA campaigns most years against the practices of turkey growers before Thanksgiving and encourages Americans to find vegetarian substitutes for the bird, such as tofu. The video showing the turkey abuse was posted on PETA's Web site.
A message left after business hours in the general mailbox at the Alabama headquarters of Aviagen North America was not immediately returned. A message left late Tuesday night with the vice president of operations at subsidiary Aviagen Turkeys Inc., in East Lewisburg, W.Va., also was not immediately returned.