‘Mercy For Animals’ Uncovers Shocking Pig Cruelty

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Hidden-Camera Footage Reveals Pigs Being Thrown, Mutilated, and Intensively Confined – Group Urges Nation’s Largest Grocery Chains to Adopt Strict Animal Welfare Policies

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Shocking hidden-camera video exposing startling animal abuse at a pork supplier to many of the nation’s largest grocery chains was released today by Mercy For Animals, a national animal protection organization.

The video reveals sows confined in crates barely larger than their own bodies, and piglets being thrown across rooms, slammed headfirst into the ground, and having their testicles ripped out and tails cut off without painkillers.

Pork from pigs raised at the factory farm is sold under Swift pork brands to grocery chains Kroger (NYSE:KR), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Safeway (NYSE:SWY), and Hy-Vee. Mercy For Animals is urging the grocery giants to adopt new animal welfare guidelines prohibiting their pork suppliers from confining pigs in crates so small they cannot even turn around.

The undercover footage was recorded at an Iowa Select Farms facility in Kamrar, Iowa, that confines thousands of pigs. Abuses include:

  • Workers cutting off piglets’ tails with dull clippers and castrating them by ripping out their testes with their bare hands – all without any anesthesia or follow up medical care
  • Pigs suffering from large, open, pus-filled wounds and pressure sores
  • Mother pigs – physically taxed from constant birthing – suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses
  • Thousands of pregnant pigs confined in metal crates so small that they could not turn around, fully extend their legs or even lie down comfortably
  • Management training workers to throw piglets across the room – comparing it to a “roller coaster ride”

    “This video depicts scenes of unbearable suffering and inexcusable neglect,” world-renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Jonathan Balcombe said after viewing the footage. “This farm should be closed down at once.”

    Confining mother pigs in narrow “gestation crates” is so patently cruel that the practice has been banned in Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, California, Maine and Michigan. Additionally, major food providers, including Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Wolfgang Puck, all have policies prohibiting pork suppliers from using gestation crates. Yet Kroger, Costco, Safeway and Hy-Vee have no animal welfare policies requiring their pork suppliers to phase out the inherently cruel crates.

    “If pork producers threw, mutilated, or cruelly confined puppies or kittens like they do pigs, they could be jailed for animal abuse,” said MFA’s Executive Director, Nathan Runkle. “It’s high time that the nation’s largest grocery chains took meaningful action to ensure that the animals raised and killed for their stores did not endure lives filled with pain and misery.”

    To view the undercover video, visit www.MercyForAnimals.org/PigAbuse.