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Pig Abuse at Tyson Supplier Documented

10 May 2012

US - The Humane Society of the United States has released an undercover video footage revealing cruel treatment of animals and inhumane conditions at a Wyoming pig breeding facility owned by a supplier for Tyson Foods. The HSUS has notified local authorities.

According to the HSUS, the video, shot in April 2012, was taken at Wyoming Premium Farms, a pig factory farm in Wheatland, Wyoming, owned by Itoham America, Inc., and shows workers kicking living piglets like soccer balls, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs, striking mother pigs with their fists and repeatedly and forcefully kicking them as they resisted leaving their young.

The HSUS reports that in one case, a mother pig with a broken back leg endured a very heavy worker sitting and bouncing on top of her hindquarters as the pig screamed in pain.

The investigator also found pigs with untreated abscesses and severe rectal and uterine prolapses, mummified piglet corpses, and baby piglets who had fallen through floor slats to either hang to death or drown in manure pits.

The HSUS met with the Platte County Sheriff's office to present investigation evidence and urged the office to pursue filing criminal charges if warranted.

"I am sickened and outraged by what I've seen, and any right-thinking person will have the same reaction," said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS.

"The shocking abuse at this facility shows why so many Americans are calling for reforms in the pork industry. It is also deeply disconcerting that Tyson and other companies are buying pork from this hellhole for pigs, and I hope those corporate relationships end tomorrow."

"It is also time for Tyson to join so many other major food industry companies and make a commitment to ending the confinement of sows in gestation crates," adds Mr Pacelle.

"These crates immobilise animals for their entire lives, and it’s no longer acceptable to the American public."

Many more examples of cruelty and unsanitary conditions are documented on video and detailed in an HSUS investigation report. The graphic video also documents prolonged suffering of pigs used for breeding who are confined in gestation crates, two-foot-wide metal cages so small the animals can't even turn around, rendering them virtually immobilized for almost their entire lives.

Tyson Foods' Response

According to Tyson Foods, contrary to the impression left by HSUS, there is no connection between the Wyoming farm and the pork that the company processes.

Tyson Foods claims that it does not buy any of the hogs raised on this farm for its pork processing plants.

The company, in a press release, stated: "We do have a small, but separate hog buying business that buys aged sows; however, these animals are subsequently sold to other companies and are not used in Tyson’s pork processing business.

"We’ve seen the video and we are appalled by the apparent mistreatment of the animals. We do not condone for any reason this kind of mistreatment of animals shown in the video."

According to Tyson, virtually all of the hogs it buys for its processing plants come from thousands of independent farm families who use both individual and group housing.

The company says that it requires all hog supplying farmers need to be certified in the pork industry’s Pork Quality Assurance Plus program, which incorporates rigid animal well-being standards and is part of the industry’s ‘We Care’ responsible pork initiative.

NPPC Condemns Actions of Wyoming Farm

The National Pork Producers Council condemns such actions, which are not in accord with the US pork industry’s best practices that are exemplified in its Pork Quality Assurance Plus program.

Providing humane and compassionate care for their pigs at every stage of life is one of the ethical principles to which US pork producers adhere. US pork producers are committed to caring for animals in a way that protects their well-being. Just as it is to others, mistreatment of animals is appalling to pork producers.

According to NPPC, "We do not defend and will not accept mistreatment of animals."

NPPC understands that the farm in question is taking immediate steps to address the situation, including an unannounced inspection of the facility by the farm’s consulting veterinarian. Individuals responsible for willful abuse of animals must be held accountable.

TheMeatSite News Desk



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