Case Closed: Reaction to No Charges in Turkey Truck Accident

Henry Co., VA - Animal Cruelty charges will not be filed against a North Carolina company that cleaned up a turkey truck wreck in Henry County.

In June, the truck transporting 600 turkeys, overturned on Route 220.

Eyewitnesses say the birds were stuck in the summer sun for hours before being moved.

The Henry County Commonwealth's attorney says, after months of investigating, this case is closed, and that this simply is a tragic reality, one that had no criminal context.

It was June 14th 2012, when a terrible accident killed more than 500 turkeys.

"I don't care if these animals were headed to the slaughter house, they don't need to die out here slowly on the side of the road," said Henry County SPCA responder, Leslie Hervey.

After months of investigation, prompted by requests from hundreds in Henry County, the SPCA, and PETA, the case, is closed.

"They're picked up and they're tossed into crates for the purpose of transport," said Henry County Commonwealth's Attorney Robert Bushnell.

He put it plainly in his letter concluding the investigation, "The killing of animals to eat their flesh is, of necessity, a rough and bloody business."

Bushnell says these turkeys were headed to slaughter, and to him, their transport on June 14th, was not criminal cruelty.

"It did not strike me as so rough as to get into deliberate cruelty," he said.

"The whole thing's been a learning curve for me, and really a life changing experience," said Hervey, executive director of the Henry County SPCA.

She lobbied for the criminal investigation, and now, months later says she's learned an incredible lesson, "The way we raise our meat in the United States is inhumane and cruel, and it won't change until those of us who are going to our grocery store and buying our turkey for Thanksgiving, demand that we get meat that's been humanely raised and harvested," she said.

The Commonwealth's Attorney, who's actually an active member of the SPCA, agreed with Hervey, and said the rough handling of those turkeys, is the nature of the industrial food industry in this nation.