Undercover Investigation Reveals Hormel Supplier's Abuse of Mother Pigs and Piglets
Undercover animal activists have filmed horrific scenes of cruelty to farm pigs. The incidents include workers slamming piglets on floors and leaving them still wriggling to die, beating animals to death with metal rods and inserting rods into sows' hindquarters. ~ VIDEO
Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) posed as workers between June and September this year at a farm in the midwestern US state of Iowa, the Associated Press (AP)reports.
The video shows a worker viciously beating pigs with a metal rod while shouting to one of the PETA spies: "I hate them. These (expletives) deserve to be hurt. Hurt, I say!"
"Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! ... Take out your frustrations on 'em," the employee yells as swings the rod.
The PETA operative is encouraged to pretend that one of the pigs scared off an attractive and willing 17- or 18-year-old girl, and then take out his frustrations by beating the animal.
In another moment captured on video a supervisor says when he gets angry or a sow won't move, "I grab one of these rods and jam it in her (anus)."
One of the PETA operatives told AP he saw a rod inserted into a sow's vagina.
Workers are also shown slamming piglets on the ground, to instantly kill those that aren't healthy enough.
However the video displays piglets surviving the treatment and lying wiggling in a bloodied pile.
Piglets are also shown being castrated, and having their tails cut off, without anesthesia.
The undercover operatives say they also saw clothespins and fingers being jabbed into pigs' eyes and blue paint being sprayed into a pig's face and nostrils.
PETA intends to send the video to the sheriff in Greene County, Iowa, seeking prosecution of 18 people on animal cruelty violations, AP reports.
Workers also sprayed the pigs with a chemical that has been banned by US food authorities because of a suspected link to cancer, PETA claims.
Lynn Becker, an owner of the farm after it changed hands in August this year told AP the scenes on the video were "completely intolerable, reprehensible."
"We condemn these types of acts," Mr Becker said.
"If any animals were abused in the brief time we've owned the farm, if we still employ these people, any attempt will made to investigate and initiate corrective action immediately."
Animal welfare training had been provided to the staff, Mr Becker said.
The previous manager of the farm also told AP that it would investigate the "unacceptable practices" shown on the video.
The farm provides pig meat to Hormel, a maker of Spam and other food products, and PETA says the food company should do more to ensure its suppliers follow humane practices.
Hormel spokeswoman Julie Henderson Craven called the abuses "completely unacceptable."
Ms Craven said she believed the abuses only occured under the farm's previous management when Hormel had not been a client.
PETA disputes this saying the change of ownership "made no difference."
"Abuse on factory farms is the absolute norm, not the exception, and anyone eating factory-farmed meat is paying to support it," PETA Vice President Bruce Friedrich said to AP. ~ September 17, 2008 - source News.au
For more than three months, PETA went undercover at an Iowa pig factory farm, which supplies piglets who are raised and killed for Hormel products. PETA found rampant cruelty to animals - committed by workers and supervisors. The farm changed ownership and management during PETA's investigation, but that made no difference to the animals who were born and confined there: Abuse and neglect were widespread during PETA's entire investigation.
The following are just some of the abuses that were documented:
- ? A supervisor shoved a cane into a sow's vagina, struck her on the back about 17 times, and then struck another sow.
- ? Multiple pigs were beaten with metal gate rods, and lacerations were found on more than 30 sows - which is probably evidence of more abuse.
- ? A worker hit a young pig in the face four times with the edge of a herding board, and investigators witnessed dozens of similar incidents involving this worker and 11 other workers.
- ? Two men - including a supervisor - were witnessed jabbing clothespins into pigs' eyes and faces. A supervisor also poked two animals in the eyes with his fingers.
- ? A supervisor kicked a young pig in the face, abdomen, and genitals to make her move and told PETA's investigator, "You gotta beat on the bitch. Make her cry."
- ? A worker who weighed an estimated 315 lbs. punched a sow on the back three times and said that he sat on a sow's head.
The findings on this Iowa pig farm, however, were not limited to cruelty to animals. PETA also documented an apparent violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and PETA has filed a complaint with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Animals who were to be killed for human consumption were sprayed with a substance that contains gentian violet - a chemical that is linked to certain cancers - thereby making their flesh "adulterated" by federal law.
By purchasing pigs born on this farm, Hormel is financially supporting an operation whose employees abuse animals. And if you eat these products or hot dogs, ham, sausage, or bacon, then you, too, are supporting this suffering. Please stop eating pigs. Then take action against Hormel.
Hormel has been receiving so many e-mails because of this investigation that they are no longer getting through. After signing our pledge—which says that you'll never eat the flesh of a pig ever again—please call Hormel, write a letter, or fill out the company's online form. Demand that Hormel follow PETA's eight-point policy when governing future pig-farming operations.
Please send polite comments to:
Hormel Foods Corporation
1 Hormel Pl.
Austin, MN 55912
September 17, 2008 - source PETA