This Is the Price Pigs Are Paying for Pork

This week another undercover investigation has brought to light horrific cruelty to pigs at the hands of the nation’s fourth largest pork producer, raising more concerns about the trouble with standard industry practices and the ongoing and systemic abuse found within the industry.

The footage was taken by an investigator for Last Chance for Animals (LCA) over a period of four months this spring at a Christensen Farms facility in Minnesota where thousands of mother pigs are confined to gestation crates for their entire lives.

In addition to the cruelty involved in keeping pigs in cages so small they can’t even ever move, workers were seen gassing terrified piglets, violently handling downers who were too sick or hurt to walk on their own by hitting, kicking, stabbing and dragging them, along with leaving sick pigs with serious illnesses and injuries to suffer for weeks and slowly die with no intervention, among other serious abuses.

According to LCA, after the investigation was complete, they submitted a criminal complaint to the Rock County Sheriff’s Office detailing 18 incidents of animal cruelty, 17 incidents of animal mistreatment by neglect and one incident of animal mistreatment by deprivation.

“By causing the deaths of these pigs through its pattern of neglect, Christensen Farms is just as culpable as someone letting their dog starve to death in their backyard,” said Adam Wilson, director of investigations for LCA. “Animals on factory farms are not exempt from Minnesota’s animal cruelty laws. It’s now up to Rock County prosecutors to ensure that such obvious animal cruelty is not tolerated.”

While law enforcement has initiated an investigation, Christensen Farms has since made the obligatory statement feigning surprise that its animal welfare policies have been violated and expressing disappointment over the actions of a few bad workers.

“We were disappointed to learn of alleged violations of our animal welfare policies at one of our facilities,” Christensen Farms CEO Glenn Stolt said. “At Christensen Farms, we take the health and welfare of our animals very seriously. It is our responsibility and we owe it to our packer customers and consumers to provide uncompromising care to our animals. There is no place in this industry for individuals who mistreat animals.”

So far, Christensen Farms has launched an internal investigation of its own and has suspended seven workers, but the suffering seen here isn’t just about trouble at one farm or with a few people with no empathy or patience; it’s about the cruelty that’s inherent in animal agriculture and the treatment of sentient animals who are suffering immensely as a result of our desire for animal products.

It’s also about calling out the management for doing nothing to stop ongoing abuse. In a statement, Bernard E. Rollin, University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Animal Sciences and Professor of Biomedical Sciences at Colorado State University said the managers are just as guilty as the workers for allowing suffering to continue and any legal action brought in this case should include supervisory personnel who allowed it to go on.

While the cruelty seen here heartbreaking by itself, it’s even more offensive because this isn’t the first time an undercover investigation has exposed trouble at Christensen Farms. A previous investigation conducted by Mercy for Animals in 2012 also brought to light serious abuse and ignited a campaign calling on Walmart to stop using it as a supplier.

Stolt says there’s no place in the industry for individuals who mistreat animals, but really it’s that there should be no place for an industry that mistreats them.

If you’re not down for watching these heart-wrenching videos, there are plenty of other precious ones — from adorable piglets playing to the trials and tribulations Esther the Wonder Pig faces in her daily life as a beloved member of her family — that serve as reminders that pigs and other farm animals are individuals whose lives matter to them and they are counting on us to change.

For more info and updates on this case, visit Last Chance for Animals.

Photo credit: Thinkstock

233 comments

Mark Donner
Mark Donnerabout a year ago

Go these monsters' website. They must be made aware that they are a terrorist group and they won't get away with their atrocities.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Cabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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susan thornton
susan Thornton1 years ago

I can't watch videos like this, it's heartbreaking what humans do to animals and I pray for the day it all stops

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Julia Cabrera-Woscek

This is horrible. I did not watch the video BTW.

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Linda H.
Linda H1 years ago

Please go to the Christensen Farms website and email them regarding this video. If you can't bear to watch it, in a nutshell, the pigs are suffering from chronic medical problems which take a long time to develop to that degree. It goes far beyond workers being mean to them, it's evidence of systemic failure to provide the most basic medical care and husbandry for their animals. Comments here won't do much good, please take a minute to send your individual message to the company. The site says people have been fired, but we need top level managers fired, not workers on the floor. I've watched many videos, and this is the most horrific one I've seen regarding institutionalized factory neglect and abuse. Please, please take action.

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Billy Tobin
Billy Tobin1 years ago

Enjoy Pork…well it’s actually a Pig: a living, feeling being just like you and me …unfortunately, few will have the courage of their own convictions and watch the video via the link…worth remembering that empathy is expressed by words and true compassion by action… just another example of human indifference …and God and world governments look on emphatically!

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Luciana Lemons
Luciana carlozzi1 years ago

Its hard for me not to express my true feelings. I will try to keep it clean. I would LOVE to give these people a taste of what they dished out x's 10. These people must be mentally ill. I will pray that Karma gets these people & this Co. I hope when they have to come back & do it over again they are Pigs in their next lives. I'm Catholic but I believe you keep coming back to learn lessons from your past life(IN SHORT). I think I would fail when it comes to trying to forgive people like this. I guess that Bacon I eat 1-2x's a year just dropped to zero. I'm not Vegan but I don't eat much meat. Each time I see crap like this it just moves me closer & closer to becoming one.

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Yola S.
.1 years ago

This is so sad.Pigs are one of the cleverest of creatures.

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Muriel Servaege
Muriel Servaege1 years ago

Who would eat pork again after seeing that? When you think pigs are as clever as three-year-old kids it looks even more horrible. How can we, human beings, do or put up with that? To me, being a vegetarian is the best solution.

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Linda H.
Linda H1 years ago

I think many of you demean the importance of this investigation by simply saying we should stop eating meat. That won't happen any time soon, so let's deal with today's reality. I DID watch the video, and the conditions are clearly chronic in nature. These are not incidents of momentary cruelty or poor slaughter techniques, these animals are being kept in tragically deprived conditions. A pig doesn't come to look that way in just a week or two, it takes months or years of deprivation and continued neglect to cause such things. The Minnesota legislature needs to be flooded with requests to shut this place down. We can't save all factory farmed pigs, but maybe we can stop this house of horrors from continuing to operate. Shameful and reprehensible.

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