Tyson ditches pork supplier over undercover footage

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Less than a month after Mercy for Animals released an undercover video alleging animal abuse at a Minnesota hog farm, the group has released more abuse footage from an Oklahoma farm.

According to NBC News, the video was shot at West Coast Farms in Okfuskee County, Okla., by Mercy for Animals from mid-September to mid-October.  

“Pete,” the undercover activist responsible for the footage, told NBC News that he reported abuse to owner Lonnie Herring three times but the alleged abuse continued. “Pete” also argues that of the workers he questioned, all suggested that the “owner had not spoken to them recently about animal handling.”

Herring denies that “Pete” reported the alleged abuse to him and refutes the claim that his workers weren’t properly trained in animal care. Herring does agree the video showed “mistreatment” of animals and took immediate action, including terminating the employees seen in the video.

Tyson Foods responded quickly to the video and terminated its contract with the farm.

The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) released a statement on the video, stating that “farmers do not defend and will not accept abuse of animals.”

“The Mercy For Animals undercover video shows workers abusing animals, actions that violate the high standards of the U.S. pork industry. NPPC and America’s hog farmers do not condone and, in fact, strongly condemn practices that are not in accord with U.S. pork industry best practices,” the group said. “NPPC calls on Oklahoma authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring criminal charges against workers who abused animals.”

“We’re extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling,” said Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods. “We are immediately terminating our contract with this farmer and will take possession of the animals remaining on the farm.”

Livestock-handling expert Temple Grandin reviewed the undercover video, and said it was evidence the farm’s employees were “poorly trained.”

No charges have been filed as of Thursday. Maxey Reilly, assistant district attorney for Okfuskee County, says that while she has seen the information provided by Mercy for Animals – and been asked by the group’s legal counsel about filing animal cruelty charges - she wants to learn more about industry standards.

Read, “Tyson Foods Dumps Pig Farm after Seeing Undercover Video of Alleged Abuse.”

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NW Indiana  |  November, 22, 2013 at 08:32 AM

I did not view the video. I have seen videos where the owner of a hog operation is very deserving of exposure, shame and penalty. Having worked with many men, in both loading in new pigs and loading out market hogs. I can say that rough handlers quickly make a rough team that reinforces eachother's behaviour. Only the presence of the owner or a manager who has authority to fire on the spot, can discipline such workers.


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