In response to the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals' new video release (see PETA Releases Another Video Related to Iowa Farm) officials from MowMar farms responded that "investigations into past animal mistreatment are well underway and have already resulted in personnel and policy changes."
MowMar purchased the pig/swine operation in mid-August, late in the period that PETA representatives were working undercover on the farm. MowMar had retained a new management company less than a month before PETA posted a video on Sept. 16 on its Web site. MowMar representatives immediately met with PETA to review the allegations and discuss corrective action. The next day (Sept. 17), MowMar officials began a thorough investigation and correct the incidents, policies and personnel that were in place prior to its acquisition of the farm. While the investigations are underway, they are not yet complete.
MowMar officials say that in the cases where it can substantiate violations of farm policies or mistreatment of animals, responsible employees have been and will be disciplined or terminated.
MowMar owners and management say they will continue to actively investigate the issues and will cooperate with law enforcement and other regulatory entities. MowMar has already taken the following actions:
- Documented violations of farm policies or animal cruelty have resulted in termination of employment for those employees involved.
- An animal-handling expert will be conducting an on-site review of the farm and its policies in the coming weeks.
- Farm policies and procedures related to animal handling have been clarified and strengthened. The practice of spraying animals in the face has been terminated and shockers have been removed from the farm.
- Management company supervisory staff was on-site daily for four consecutive weeks following the initial PETA allegations to implement proper training on animal handling and ensure compliance with handling procedures.
- Ongoing weekly training to employees on proper animal care is in place on the farm.
- Options for video monitoring of animal care are being reviewed for effective usage on the farm.
- All MowMar employees have been certified by the farm veterinarian in PQA Plus, the industry's flagship pork safety and animal well-being program.
- MowMar has established a toll free hotline at the farm site to allow for confidential reporting of animal well-being directly to senior management officials. No calls have been received reporting any animal abuse or mistreatment to date.
MowMar farms remains committed to our 'zero-tolerance policy' with respect to the mistreatment or abuse of farm animals. As a family-owned farm operation with over 30 years of experience, we take these issues very seriously and will continue to investigate violations of our own high standards for animal husbandry.