The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) recently reported numerous shocking cases of animal abuse taking place at Wyoming Premium Farms, a factory farm that processes sows and piglets. Some of the abuse documented in the video includes stepping on sows, kicking sows, twirling piglets violently in the air and overall neglect.
Tyson Foods, the company targeted by HSUS, has historically purchased aging sows from the farm through Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods. Tyson has since reported that they “suspended purchasing animals from Wyoming Premium Farms” after seeing the video documentation, however, up until recently, Tyson denied a connection to the producer.
Doug DeRouchey, Wyoming Premium Farms manager, said that those responsible for such heinous acts will be fired, but DeRouchey also claimed he “needs more than a four-minute video as proof of wrong-doing.” He did not apparently comment on how much documentation would be needed to constitute “proof.”
Animal abuse on factory farms is, sadly, nothing new. There are currently no stringent laws in place that legally protect animals in these conditions from neglect and abuse, although many groups like HSUS and PETA work tirelessly to ensure their stories are brought to light. Unfortunately, many of these animals are viewed solely as economic commodities and are treated as such. Add in constant consumer demand for fast food and meat products and these conditions are only perpetuated.
Exposés, like those at Wyoming Premium Farms, are critical reminders of where meat actually comes from and because of these undercover operations, many conglomerate meat processing and breeding companies are starting to make improvements, although slight. Smithfield and Hormel have stated that by 2017, “company-owned pig breeding operations will be gestation crate-free.” Cargill, another breeding operation, is currently 50% gestation crate-free. Tyson, however, has typically “lagged behind its competitors in the pork industry and has not made any commitments to get gestation crates out of its supply chain.”
Nonetheless, gestation crates are only part of the problem. Conditions in factory farms are typically no less than abhorrent, leaving animals immobile, often left to stand in their own excrement. Many females are forced to give birth days to weeks in advance to keep up with demand. It’s no wonder these so-called “farms” are typically in remote areas where nobody can smell, or hear, what takes place.
Being a smart consumer is the first step to combating this cruel industry, as is cutting back on the amount of meat intake. If living the vegetarian or vegan lifestyle isn’t for you, instead choose meat from local, sustainable and humane farms. Americans have historically consumed more meat than any other population in the world and although those numbers may be declining giving rising costs, the real cost is the price the confined animals pay every day.
Photo Credit: Maqi