Video footage of shocking cruelty taking place at Minnesota-based Christensen Farms, a Walmart pork supplier and the third largest pork producer in the U.S., was released by Mercy for Animals (MFA), who is now working to get Walmart to stop supporting suppliers who blatantly mistreat animals.
The investigation took place from December 2011 and March 2012 and found:
- Thousands of mother pigs confined to filthy, metal gestation crates so small they are unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
- Pigs suffering from large, open wounds and pressure sores from rubbing against the bars of their tiny cages or lying on the hard concrete flooring
- Workers slamming piglets into the ground and leaving them to slowly suffer and die
- Workers ripping out the testicles and slicing off the tails of fully conscious piglets without the use of any painkillers
- Sick and injured pigs with severe, bleeding wounds or infections left to suffer without veterinary care
- A mother pig―physically taxed from constant birthing―with an inflamed and bleeding prolapse
- Workers preparing to force-feed sows diarrhea and dead piglets
Christensen Farms issued a statement defending the actions shown on the video, only arguing that injuries and other incidents were taken out of context. They do, however, want people to know that they’ve recently started gassing sick and injured piglets, instead of bashing their heads in, although there was no comment about that last act mentioned.
So, dually noted many of the acts shown in the video, such as castration and tail docking without anesthesia, the use of gestation crates and death by blunt force trauma are considered standard industry practices supported by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) …despite the stomach-turning reaction many of us get from seeing or learning about them. The Minnesota Pork Producers Association also agrees with the usual sentiment issued by ag groups that people who don’t know anything about swine behavior don’t know what they’re seeing when watching clearly abusive footage.
Animal advocates, and pretty much anyone with a any sense of empathy, disagree.
“Gestation crates are unremitting hell on earth,” world-renowned animal behaviorist Dr. Jonathan Balcombe said after viewing the footage. “These intelligent animals endure awful physical and psychological suffering. No animal ever deserved to be treated like this.”
MFA held meetings with Costco and Sears Holding Corp., which owns Kmart Corp. and each announced that they would work to eliminate gestation crates from their pork supply chains, as did H.J. Heinz Co, yet Walmart continues to support this egregious cruelty.
“The hidden cost of Walmart’s cheap products is blatant animal abuse,” said MFA’s executive director, Nathan Runkle. “No animal should suffer a lifetime locked in a crate so small she can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably. It’s high time that Walmart took meaningful action to ensure that the animals raised and killed for its stores do not endure lives filled with pain and misery.”
For more info, visit www.walmartcruelty.com.
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