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McDonald's, Tyson Foods drop farm after videotape shows animal cruelty

LOS ANGELES - McDonald's Corp and Tyson Foods both severed ties on Thursday with a Tennesseefarm where workers were seen stabbing, beating and stomping on chickens in an undercover video shot by animal rights activists.

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LOS ANGELES - McDonald's Corp and  Tyson Foods  both severed ties on Thursday with a Tennesseefarm where workers were seen stabbing, beating and stomping on chickens in an undercover video shot by animal rights activists.

The videotape, which was unveiled by Mercy For Animals at a news conference in Los Angeles, depicts gruesome animal cruelty toward the birds at what the group said was T&S Farm in Dukedom, Tennessee, which was under contract to Tyson Foods <TSN.N>.

Tyson supplies chicken meat to McDonald's <MCD.N>, the world's biggest fast-food chain, for its McNuggets.

Representatives for T&S Farm could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.

"Animal well-being is a priority at our company and we will not tolerate the unacceptable animal treatment shown in this video," Tyson spokesman Worth Sparkman said in a written statement.

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  "Members of our animal well-being team are investigating, however, based on what we currently know, we are terminating the farmer’s contract to grow chickens for us," said Sparkman, adding there were currently no chickens on the farm.

McDonald's said in a statement that the company supported Tyson's decision and "find the behavior depicted in this video to be completely unacceptable."

The fast-food giant said it was working with Tyson to further investigate the situation.

"We’re committed to working with animal welfare and industry experts to inform our policies that promote better management, strong employee education and verification of practices,” McDonald's said.

An investigator for the Weakley County Sheriff's Office said the agency had opened an investigation into the farm and was working with prosecutors.

McDonald's announced earlier this year that it would phase out its use of chickens raised with certain kinds of antibiotics at its 14,000 U.S. restaurants as part of a major restructuring plan to reverse a long sales slump.

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