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Murphy-Brown conducts internal investigation

Murphy-Brown, a livestock producing subsidiary of the world's largest pork processor Smithfield, has announced that it is to conduct an internal investigation after allegations were made about animal abuse, the Associated Press reports.

The announcement was made by Murphy-Brown's spokesman Don Butler, after Murphy Family Ventures, based in Wallace, N.C., one of the company's independent contract growers, had been accused of animal abuse by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Butler said that he had not received information, but would conduct an investigation and possibly take appropriate action.

Murphy Family Ventures released a similar statement, saying it had not received detailed information about the matter but would investigate. It said that as a contract producer for Murphy-Brown, "we are required to follow the policies and practices outlined and contained in our animal welfare management programme."

Accusations of abuse
PETA said the investigator documented workers dragging screaming pigs by their snouts, an ear or a leg to an area where they then were killed. Workers also hit and jabbed pigs with metal rods, a supervisor admitted that he beat pigs, and numerous pigs went without treatment for cysts, sores and other injuries, PETA said.

The investigator was hired at the sow farm and worked there from September 13 to November 2, according to PETA spokesman Bruce Friedrich.

Butler commented, "Murphy-Brown has no higher priority than the well-being of animals we produce and that's why we have developed and implemented a comprehensive animal welfare management system designed to ensure the well-being of our animals." All contract growers are required to abide by an animal welfare management programme, he said.

Related websites:

• Murphy Brown

• Associated Press

• PETA

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