29 June 2011

Mercy for Animals undercover investigation exposes shocking abuse at pork factory farm

Iowa Select Farms in Kamrar, Iowa has been shamed in a new investigation into animal abuse by Mercy for Animals (MFA). A video released by MFA shows graphic scenes of neglect and suffering at the hands of the workers, some of them management staff.

From April – June of this year, a MFA investigator witnessed many acts of cruelty, including:

• Mother sows confined to metal barren crates, so small they cannot turn around or lie comfortably.
• Conscious piglets being castrated without painkillers.
• Piglets suffering herniated intestines due to improper castration techniques.
• Conscious piglets having their tails removed painfully with dull clippers.
• Various large, open, pus filled wounds and pressure sores on the animals.
• Sick and injured pig being left to slowly die without adequate veterinary care.
• Sows suffering from inflamed, distended and bleeding prolapses due to constant breeding.
• Management training workers to throw piglets across the room – comparing it to a ‘rollercoaster ride’.

After watching the harrowing video, world renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Jonathan Balcombe denounced the farm, saying “this video depicts scenes of unbearable suffering and inexcusable neglect… This farm should be closed down at once.”

Veterinarian Dr. Armaiti May also condemned the practices shown on the video stating:

“I was greatly disturbed and appalled to watch footage of such horrifying cruelty and neglect towards pigs. I recommend group housing be instituted which allows enough space for pigs to turn around and extend their limbs without touching the sides of the enclosures or each other. All surgical procedures including castrations should be done only with the pigs anesthetized and using sterile technique.”

Sadly, none of the procedures used at this ‘farm’ are considered to be unusual in pork producing circles, and it’s not technically illegal. MFA has linked four major national food companies to Iowa Select – Costco, Kroger, Safeway and Hy-Vee, via JBS Swift (Swift Pork Co.) Safeway issued a statement yesterday calling the images ‘disturbing’ and said they had immediately stopped purchasing from Swift while Iowa Select was investigated. Kroger also expressed concern, and has asked Swift to suspend supplies from Iowa Select.

Ironically legislators in Iowa are trying to ensure the public never sees the truth behind the farm walls, by considering the ‘ag-gag’ bill which aims to make video of farming illegal without the owners consent. I wonder why?

Bev Hahler | @redhotvegan
Bev, a vegetarian since she was 14 years old, became more interested in veganism several years ago after studying Agro-business as part of an Ecology degree. She has a gorgeous daughter in second grade who has been a vegetarian her whole life (lucky girl). Follow Bev on her blog and Facebook.

Photo credit: MFA