Merlin ID: 71523
For one month concluding in December 2010, an HSUS investigator worked inside a Virginia factory farm documenting the inhumane treatment of female breeding pigs and piglets. Murphy-Brown is the livestock production subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, Inc., and is the world’s largest pork producer. According to its website, Murphy-Brown owns approximately 888,000 sows and brings a total of 17 million pigs to slaughter annually. The company owns 450 factory farms across 12 states, 275 of which are used for breeding. At the Waverly facility, more than 1,000 sows suffer in gestation crates every day.
In January 2007, Smithfield Foods pledged to phase out the use of gestation crates within 10 years, but in June 2009, the company backtracked on its self-imposed timeframe for doing so. “Now that Smithfield just posted its highest-ever quarterly profit, it’s a good time to make a public pledge to honor its previous commitment,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “The company can no longer claim that economic circumstances don’t allow for facility improvements.” Other large pork producers, such as Maxwell Foods, are already gestation crate-free, while Cargill is 50 percent gestation crate-free.
This investigation revealed the below findings.
Female breeding pigs were crammed inside “gestation crates” so small the animals could barely move for virtually their entire lives. The animals engaged in stereotypic behaviors such as biting the bars of crates, indicating poor well-being in the extreme confinement conditions. Some had bitten their bars so incessantly that blood from their mouths coated the fronts of their crates. The breeding pigs also suffered injuries from sharp crate protrusions and open pressure sores that developed from their unyielding confinement.
The investigator never saw a veterinarian at the operation. A barn manager told the investigator to ignore a pig with a basketball-sized abscess on her neck, and then cut the abscess open with an unsterilized razor.
Employees jabbed a lame pig’s neck and back with gate rods to force her to move.
Three times, the investigator informed employees that a pig was thrown into a dumpster alive. The animal had been shot in the forehead with a captive bolt gun, which is designed to render an animal unconscious, and was thrown in the dumpster still alive and breathing.
Employees mishandled piglets and tossed them into carts.
Some piglets prematurely born in gestation crates fell through the slats into the manure pits.
Keywords: Pig, Animal Abuse, Animal Cruelty, Caged Farm Animals, Cruel Confinement of Farm Animals, Campaigns, Factory Farming, Farm Animal Welfare, Investigations, Protect Farm Animals
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