Image via YouTube Video
Mercy for Animals, an animal welfare group, has revealed undercover video, with footage shot between April and June, of the cruel conditions at Iowa Select Farms, one of the largest pork producers in the U.S. The group is using the footage to try and convince officials at stores like Costco, Kroger and Safeway to stop buying pork from the farm. Huffington Post reports, "The effort seemed to be working as several chains viewed the video and then either halted purchases from the targeted Iowa hog farm or expressed concern even before Chicago-based Mercy for Animals formally unveiled the recording at news conferences planned Wednesday in four cities."
MFA documented cruelty from female pigs being kept in cramped gestation cages, workers ripping out the testicles of piglets who are conscious and have not been given pain killers, piglets having their tails removed with dull clippers, fatally ill pigs, and even workers throwing piglets across the room -- saying it doesn't hurt them because piglets are "bouncy" and it's "like a roller coaster ride" for them.
Consider yourself warned, this video is graphic and likely very disturbing to anyone who cares about animals:
According to Huffington Post, Howard Hill, a veterinarian and the company's director of external affairs, said Iowa Select is investigating the video, saying that it doesn't accurately portray the operations and that it was staged. Considering the recent Iowa bill that would make filming or photographing factory farms illegal, it's clear that the Big Ag lobby is a powerful one and has something significant to cover up. It's doubtful that anything about the video was "staged."
Iowa isn't the only state with lobbyists trying to push cameras far away from farms -- Florida, Minnesota and New York are also looking at measures to outlaw recording footage at factory farms.
But as this video shows -- from the cramped, inhumane cages to workers literally throwing piglets across a room -- there's a dark reason for the bills. Factory farms want to keep consumers unaware of the conditions under which that pork chop was created.
But Mercy for Animals is trying to ensure consumers know exactly what is going on, and hopes that consumer knowledge and pressure on grocery store chains to stop buying meat from these producers, will create change and improved conditions at factory farms.
Huffington Post reports:
After watching the video, officials at Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway said they had stopped purchases from its supplier, JBS Swift, which distributes pork from the Iowa company, until an investigation into the conditions shown on the video can be completed.
"Safeway does not tolerate animal abuse of any kind and finds the images and animal handling practices contained in the Mercy for Animals video to be extremely disturbing and in violation of our animal welfare policies," spokeswoman Teena Massingill said in a statement.
Kroger spokesman Keith Dailey said his company also had asked JBS Swift to investigate the conditions shown in the video. Until that investigation is completed, Kroger has told JBS Swift to stop supplying the chain with pork from the Iowa operation.
Factory farming is a cruel reality in our meat industry. We've revealed abuses from bludgeoning calves to cruelty among even organic farms. While many wish to turn their heads away and say it's just part of what it takes to raise meat for millions, videos such as this latest one surfacing continue to bring attention to the significant problems of inhumane treatment of animals in these factories.
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