The vegetarianism-promoting animal rights group Mercy for Animals has released a video to Fox News showing a series of abuses at a Pennsylvania swine facility including footage of employees tossing young pigs. Additional scenes from the video show injured pigs going uncared for and pregnant sows being housed in gestation crates.
The national animal rights group’s investigation involves a large swine facility in central Pennsylvania owned by Country View Family Farms. A Mercy for Animals employee who applied for a job at the farm wore a hidden camera to record the 12-minute video while he worked inside the pig barns for three months earlier this year.
Country View Family Farms operates more than 100 pig farms across Pennsylvania, Ohio and Indiana. The company is a division of Hatfield Quality Meats.
Another section of the video shows baby pigs being euthanized by carbon dioxide gas - a practice used as a humane protocol throughout the pork industry, Mercy for Animals claims the gassing procedure at this particular farm did not work properly and caused baby pigs to suffer unnecessarily.
The owners of the Pennsylvania sow farm investigated by Mercy for Animals have said: “We have reviewed the video and the high standards we have for how hogs are handled appear to have been violated. Although we believe this is an isolated incident, we cannot and will not condone mishandling of our farm animals, and corrective measures have already taken place. To that end, we have taken swift steps to address this situation. We have appointed a new supervisor to assume immediate, day-to-day responsibility for animal care on that farm while we investigate."
“Further, we have scheduled comprehensive and immediate re-training of team members who work directly with animals on all our farms. Part of that training is reviewing our established protocol for animal well-being and team member codes of conduct – signed by all our team members – and reiterating to all team members the disciplinary procedures in place for violations of that code."
“Mercy For Animals will keep fighting for stronger state and federal animal welfare laws while continuing to pressure grocery store chains to boycott companies that treat farm animals in ways MFA considers unethical,” says Daniel Hauff, Mercy For Animals Director of Investigations.
Meanwhile, pork industry officials have added their views on the video. "I have no patience for anyone who abuses animals or no tolerance and I don’t think anyone should, but these films really are an attack on the rural lifestyle of America,” says Rodney “Butch” Baker, DVM, president of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians. "People in rural communities depend on farms and farming for their livelihood. If you let an extremist group run the industry that’s just as bad as letting the people who didn't care about the animals at all run the industry,” Baker said. “It is upsetting to see animal rights organizations try to destroy America’s farmers.”
A statement from the National Pork Board says, “The pork industry condemns the abuse of any animal. America’s pork producers take their ethical responsibility for the proper care of pigs seriously and will not tolerate any mistreatment of animals.”
“U.S. pork producers are committed to care for animals in a way that protects their well-being. The industry provides education and training programs – including Pork Quality Assurance Plus and the Transport Quality Assurance Program -- to ensure that all persons involved in the care of pigs understand their ethical responsibility and possess the skills necessary to provide good care,” according to the NPB. “We would encourage anyone having knowledge of the possible mistreatment of animals to bring that immediately to the attention of the responsible persons.”
Read 'Industry Insight' by Pork associate editor on this subject.
Source: Fox News, NPB