An animal rights group has released a secretly filmed videotape of poultry slaughterhouse workers jumping on live chickens, kicking them like footballs and hitting chickens against walls.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), which is involved in a legal dispute with fastfood chain KFC, claims the tape was filmed by one of its investigators who was working at a West Virginia slaughterhouse owned by US poultry processor Pilgrim’s Pride, which is one of KFC’s suppliers, reported the New York Times.

The tape was shown to KFC officials, who said they would ask Pilgrim’s Pride to dismiss the workers involved. KFC also said it would inspect the slaughterhouse more often and threatened to end its relationship with Pilgrim’s Pride if further violations occurred.

Pilgrim’s Pride said it was “appalled” by the tape. A spokesman said the company had received an anonymous report in April claiming that poultry were being mistreated at the plant, and had warned workers that it would not tolerate such behaviour. Pilgrim’s Pride said it would now reopen its investigation, the newspaper reported.

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