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Who owns Plainville Farms? Shocking PETA video shows staff torture, simulate sex acts on birds

Plainville Farms is under fire for its brutal treatment of turkeys, as PETA exposes how workers viciously torture the birds
Mark Schiller, CEO of the Hain Celestial Group and (right) still from the video of workers at Plainville Farms torturing the birds (LinkedIn/mark-schiller, PETA)
Mark Schiller, CEO of the Hain Celestial Group and (right) still from the video of workers at Plainville Farms torturing the birds (LinkedIn/mark-schiller, PETA)

In a shocking revelation, workers at a farm that supplies 'humanely-raised' turkey to retailers like Whole Foods were videotaped abusing the animals, with one man even mimicking masturbation with a bird who was dying, news outlets reported on Thursday, August 12.

Workers were shown stomping, kicking, and punching birds in a horrifying undercover film taken by a worker who was discreetly moonlighting for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). It was shot at New Oxford, Pennsylvania, at Plainville Farms, which also supplies Publix and Harris Teeter. After being severely injured by the employees, the birds were recorded convulsing in anguish and allowed to die on the concrete floor of a sharply lighted barn.


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MEAWW has in the past reported on some horrific instances of animal torture. In April last year, Tennessee linebacker Aaron Beasley was suspended for brutally abusing his girlfriend's roommate's six-month-old kitten, and 'locking it in a toilet bowl'. A sadistic Iowa man, David Goodburn adopted rescued dogs from a shelter only to let them starve to death in a locked apartment. 

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has launched an investigation into Plainville Farms, which informed the New York Post on Thursday, August 12, that its animal cruelty division is 'currently' evaluating the material provided by the animal advocacy group.

Warning: Graphic content


Who owns Plainville Farms?

The Plainville Turkey Farms remained in the Bitz family, from where it originated, from 1835 until the business was sold in 2007, to Hain Capital Group. Plainville Farms LLC, a subsidiary of Hain, has maintained the Plainville name. Following the transaction, Hain transferred manufacturing of Plainville turkeys to its New Oxford, Pennsylvania factory. The present president and CEO of The Hain Celestial Group, Inc. is Mark Schiller. Its owner is Irwin Simon, who is CEO at Tilray, Inc.

Schiller was earlier the Chief Commercial Officer at Pinnacle Foods, according to his LinkedIn. He was also associated with PepsiCo, Convenience Foods, and Quaker Oats. He holds a Bachelor's in Sociology from Tulane University and an MBA in Marketing and Finance from the Columbia Business School.

According to, the history of the farms dates back to when the grandfather of retired president Bob Bitz, William Ward, and father, Harry Bitz, purchased eight leftover turkeys from a vendor at the Central New York Regional Market in 1923. They returned to their dairy and vegetable farm in northeastern Onondaga County with the birds. The birds were fattened and then sold around the holidays.

Plainville Turkey Farm was developed from just eight birds. It's a company that produced as many as 1 million turkeys per year in the last century, including 100,000 for one Thanksgiving. Ground turkey, sausage, deli meat, stuffing, and the renowned gravy were all made by the company over the years. After they sold the company in 2007, turkeys are still raised at Plainville and products are still sold under the brand name, but the Bitzs are no longer involved.

Still from the video of workers at Plainville Farms torturing the birds (PETA)

What is happening at Plainville Farms?

"Our turkeys are humanely raised without antibiotics or growth hormones. We also offer gluten-free and organic turkey options," Plainville Farms' LinkedIn bio reads. But this does not appear to be so.

In July and August of this year, a PETA volunteer worked 11 shifts at ten separate Plainville locations, to expose the company claims that they grow birds 'humanely' in a 'stress-free environment.'

"A worker picks a bird up, tries to break her neck and then puts her between his legs. Holding her by her injured neck he mimics masturbation," PETA says in the footage. "[The worker] then drops her on the floor, kicks her and then leaves her to die."  Workers are seen snatching turkeys by their necks or delicate wings and flinging them around the room, at each other, and at other turkeys 'like it's a game,' according to PETA. Workers may also be seen kicking turkeys on the ground that are hurt or dead.

"Dead and dying turkeys can be seen every night on every farm. They receive no treatment for illness or injury but instead are left to die slowly and in pain," they added. According to PETA, one crew position is dubbed 'kick,' and the worker's primary responsibility is to 'give turkeys a boot when they don't move.'

"Instead of trying to stop this abuse, one supervisor himself kicked turkeys and repeatedly encouraged workers to abuse birds," PETA said. "He and other workers berated PETA's investigator for not kicking birds, and instead, picking them up and calmly herding them, even saying he should 'get a new job' since he wouldn't do things the 'right' way by abusing animals."

PETA is urging Plainville Farms President Tom Donovan to "fire the abusive workers" and GAP to "drastically change its certification program by prohibiting labeling designed to deceive customers." PETA also wants Whole Foods, Harris Teeter, and Publix to "investigate its suppliers and highlight its many vegan options," according to the organization.