Below is a statement in response to undercover photos taken at a farm that contracts with our company, which were publicly released on November 20, 2017.
“We are committed to the care of our birds and have well-established animal care standards. It is difficult to comment on specific photos without additional context, but clearly some of them are deeply disturbing and our team immediately investigated.
Our animal care team had documented violations at the farm in question and required corrective action before we learned of the disturbing photos. On November 1, the owner of the farm was advised he must correct all violations before we would consider returning birds to his care. We took the additional step of formally suspending our contract with the farmer.
Our animal welfare policy and mandatory training make our expectations crystal clear. Our policy states, ‘Animal abuse in any form will not be tolerated by Norbest Farms. Failure to abide by the Norbest Farms Animal Welfare policy may result in disciplinary action, up to and including employment or contract termination and where appropriate, prosecution under applicable laws.’
We provide training and support to the farmers who join the Norbest family because topnotch animal care is important to us. That’s also why we regularly inspect every farm. We appreciate the willingness of a respected veterinarian, Dr. James Trites, who has assisted us with training and inspections, to make a statement about his interactions with our team. His statement is posted on our website.
Although it’s reassuring to know our team identified a problem and did the right thing by requiring corrective action, we are deeply disappointed that our standards were not upheld by the farmer in question. We will re-examine every step in our training and inspection process to determine whether there is more we can do to guarantee our animal care standards are met. Our goal is to prevent such an unfortunate situation from ever being repeated.”
Norbest turkey production practices are humane, with the health and comfort of the birds of paramount importance. This is always in the best interest of the turkey rancher, both from ethical and economic vantage points. Turkey shelters provide maximum protection from predators, disease, and bad weather.
Turkeys are fed a balanced diet comprised mostly of corn, soybean meal, minerals and vitamins. Fresh water is available at all times. On average, it takes 84 pounds of feed to raise a 30 pound tom turkey. Turkeys are not fed growth hormones to make them grow faster. These are federally banned for use in poultry.
For treatment of disease or illness, approved medicines are used at therapeutic levels under USDA and FDA regulations. Birds are not allowed to be processed until after a period of time long enough to prevent any residues of these medicines remaining in the meat. Norbest does not use, nor does our drug policy permit, the use of ractopamine, nitarsone, or the routine use of medically important antibiotics.
One of the best strongholds of animal welfare in our culture is the rancher / farmer. Our ranchers love the close, daily contact with animals. As ranchers tend poultry, guaranteeing their health and welfare, the animal provides the high quality foods.
Today, U.S. animal agriculture is a dynamic, specialized endeavor, the envy of the rest of the world. Only in America can 3% feed 100% of the population as efficiently as we do. The key to this efficiency? The best cared for poultry in the world. Turkey production has become a science. Improved animal housing, handling practices, and healthy, nutritious feeds are the result of the ongoing finance of research into how to raise the healthiest birds.
As American animal agriculture grows and changes, there is a double constant: Ranchers' concern for the welfare of the animal, and their dedication to providing the highest quality, safest food in the world.
See the National Turkey Federation website for more information on turkey growing in America.
Do You Have Questions about Turkeys?
Do You Have Questions about Gift Certificates?
Norbest offers two (2) types of gift certificates. Select a certificate for a Whole Turkey by weight, or chooose a certificate for Turkey, Ham or Veggies by dollar amount.
How Do I Contact You If I Have Questions?
Visit our Contact Us page and find the contact info for your needs. Reach out we would love to talk to you.
More than 40 independent ranching families work together to produce turkey for Norbest. We value hard work and take pride in bringing wholesome products to the world’s table. View some of our stories below.
Matt Cook - Norbest Turkey
Scott Hintze - Norbest Grower
Jason Christensen - Norbest Grower
Troy Prestwich - Norbest Grower
Gary Cox- Norbest Grower
Thomas Cook - Norbest Grower
Dave Williams - Norbest Grower