Iowa Pig farm abuse condemned by industry

17-09-2008 | |

An undercover video has been recorded at an Iowa pig farm showing workers hitting sows with metal rods, slamming piglets on a concrete floor and bragging about jamming rods up into sows’ hindquarters.

The farm, supplies Hormel Foods who have called the abuses “completely unacceptable.”

After getting a whistleblower complaint from someone inside the farm, PETA sent two undercover investigators to get hired at the farm and document its practices.

“Industry full of good people”
Dr. Jennifer Greiner, a veterinarian and director of science and technology at the National Pork Producers Council, said the industry condemns “wilful abuse” of pigs and that the video depicts acts that are not acceptable. “Our industry is committed to handling pigs humanely,” she said. “My industry is full of good people.”

At one point in the video, workers are shown slamming piglets on the ground, a practice designed to instantly kill those baby pigs that aren’t healthy enough. But on the video, the piglets are not killed instantly, and in a bloodied pile, some piglets can be seen wiggling vainly. The video also shows piglets being castrated, and having their tails cut off, without anaesthesia.

Abuse not widespread
Temple Grandin, a leading animal welfare expert who serves as a consultant to the livestock industry, said that while those are standard industry practices, the treatment of the sows on the video was far from it. “This is atrocious animal abuse,” Grandin said after PETA sent her the video.

But she disagreed with PETA’s contention that it was widespread in the industry. “I’ve been on many good farms, and the pigs are handled gently,” she said. “This was blatant, deliberate animal cruelty.”

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