"Pork. Be Inspired" is the current slogan of the Pork Industry. Perhaps what you're about to see might inspire something. This is exactly why Big Agribusiness wants to make undercover investigations illegal. Every single time an investigator goes undercover onto factory farms, where more than 99 percent of all farmed animals raised and slaughtered in the United States, abhorrent and nauseating documentation of the neglect, cruelty and indifference is captured on film. Every time. One of the nation's largest pork producers – Iowa Select Farms in Kamrar, Iowa was documented by Mercy For Animals. This happens as Iowa lawmakers consider a bill that would outlaw this type of documenting. At this particular factory farm, mother sows and their piglets are forced to suffer brutal abuse and lives of unrelenting confinement and misery. Between April and June of 2011, an MFA investigator documented:
- • Mother sows confined to barren metal crates barely larger than their own bodies – unable to turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
- • Workers ripping out the testicles of conscious piglets without the use of painkillers
- • Piglets suffering with herniated intestines, due to botched castration
- • Conscious piglets having their tails painfully sliced into and yanked off with dull clippers
- • Large, open, pus-filled wounds and pressure sores
- • Sick and injured pigs left to languish and slowly die without proper veterinary care
- • Mother pigs – physically taxed from constant birthing – suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses
- • Management training workers to throw piglets across the room – comparing it to a "roller coaster ride"
Upon reviewing the undercover footage, world-renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Jonathan Balcombe denounced the facility, stating that "this video depicts scenes of unbearable suffering and inexcusable neglect. … This farm should be closed down at once."
Veterinarian Dr. Armaiti May also condemned the operation, stating, "I was greatly disturbed and appalled to watch footage of such horrifying cruelty and neglect towards pigs." Dr. May further stated:
I recommend group housing be instituted which allows enough space for pigs to turn around and extend their limbs without touching the sides of the enclosures or each other. All surgical procedures including castrations should be done only with the pigs anesthetized and using sterile technique.
Subjecting animals to a lifetime of confinement in crates so small they are virtually immobilized is perhaps the cruelest form of institutionalized animal abuse in existence. A growing number of animal welfare experts opposes the use of gestation crates, concluding what common sense should have told us all along: animals with legs should have room to move.
Dr. Temple Grandin, who is considered the world's leading expert on farmed-animal care and is an animal welfare advisor to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the meat industry, asserts that "gestation crates for pigs are a real problem. … Basically, you're asking a sow to live in an airline seat ... I think it's something that needs to be phased out."