New Campaign Slams Walmart's Support for Animal Abuse
Mobile billboard confronts Walmart execs as part of celebrity-backed national campaign to end company's abuse of pigsThe national animal protection organization Mercy For Animals is ratcheting up its campaign against the world's largest retailer this week, as the group unveils a feast for Walmart President and CEO Mike Duke's eyes: a controversial mobile billboard outside Walmart's headquarters in Bentonville, Ark. The billboard, which stems from a shocking Mercy For Animals investigation into a Walmart pork supplier, declares, "Walmart: Stop Torturing Pigs" and features the image of a sow locked inside a narrow gestation crate.
Mercy For Animals is urging grocery giant Walmart to adopt a new animal welfare policy prohibiting its pork suppliers from confining pigs in gestation crates so small they cannot even turn around, walk, or lie down comfortably - something numerous other major food retailers have already committed to doing.
From coast to coast, in more than 70 cities, consumers have protested outside Walmart stores demanding the company eliminate cruel crates from its supply chain. Over 75,000 people have signed a petition, and A-list celebrities, including Ryan Gosling, Kristen Bell, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel, Tom Morello, Kim Basinger, and David Boreanaz, co-signed a letter to Walmart's CEO Mike Duke that states: "As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has the power - and the ethical responsibility - to ensure that the pork sold in its stores is not the product of egregious animal abuse."
Shocking hidden-camera video of animal abuse recently recorded at Christensen Farms, a Hanska, Minnesota-based Walmart pork supplier, revealed pregnant pigs confined for nearly their entire lives in crates barely larger than their own bodies, pigs suffering from bloody open wounds and infections, and conscious piglets being slammed headfirst into the ground and having their testicles ripped out and tails cut off without painkillers. Last year, an undercover investigation at an Iowa Select Farms facility in Kamrar, Iowa, which also supplies pork to Walmart, revealed similar abuse and neglect.
Banned in nine U.S. states and the entire European Union, gestation crates have been widely condemned by animal welfare experts as one of the cruelest factory farming practices in the world. Major food providers, including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Chipotle, and grocery chains, such as Safeway, Kroger, Target, and Whole Foods, have all started eliminating crates from their supply chains.
To illustrate the inherent cruelty of Walmart pork suppliers, MFA has developed a virtual gestation crate, a web-based interactive "game" that provides a glimpse into the dark and deprived world of a pig raised for Walmart's pork. The virtual gestation crate is available at www.mercyforanimals.org/pigcrate.
"Walmart continues to support blatant animal abuse by buying pork from suppliers that cruelly condemn intelligent and social animals to a lifetime of misery and deprivation in crates where they can't even turn around, walk, lie down comfortably, or engage in other natural behaviors," said MFA's executive director Nathan Runkle. "It's high time that Walmart follow the lead of all their major competitors and make the humane and socially responsible choice to phase out inherently cruel gestation crates "
For more information or to view the undercover video, visit www.WalmartCruelty.com.
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