The animal rights group Mercy for Animals released an undercover video on Tuesday, alleging animal abuse at a hog farm and Walmart pork supplier in Pipestone, Minn. The group released the video, narrated by actor James Cromwell, in a news conference Tuesday morning.
According to the group’s press release, local law enforcement raided Pipestone System's Rosewood Farms on allegations of animal abuse stemming from the video.
However, according to the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), an independent veterinarian, taken by law enforcement to the Pipestone facility shown in the undercover video, determined that there were no signs of inhumane treatment or violations of good production standards. Read the NPPC’s news release here.
No charges were filed.
The hog farm management company further explains that the practices depicted in the video –including killing piglets through “blunt force trauma” – are all within hog industry guidelines, according to the Star Tribune.
Luke Minion, CEO of the Pipestone Management Co., explained that the piglets were euthanized because they were sick or injured, and wouldn’t have survived otherwise.
Euthanasia through blunt force is approved by the NPPC and is “very fast and pain-free” when done correctly. Read, “Animal rights group alleges cruelty at Pipestone hog farm.”
However, there is debate whether this practice should be an acceptable practice. The Animal Care Review Panel, an expert panel created by the Center for Food Integrity, addressed this euthanasia method.
“The problem on this farm appears not to be how euthanasia is being carried out but the lack of timely euthanasia,” Dr. John Deen from the University of Minnesota, one member of the panel, said. “Pigs were seen in this video that should have already been euthanized. There are situations where pigs have irreversible health issues and euthanasia is the humane thing to do.”
The Pipestone System responded the video.
"The Pipestone System does not condone any type of willful animal abuse. The Pipestone System immediately conducted an internal investigation of alleged mistreatment and discovered certain violations of its Animal Welfare Policy that resulted in the immediate termination of one employee, reassignment of another and follow-up training of the remaining employees. The Pipestone System also requested and underwent an immediate third party external audit of the operations at this farm," a statement said.
Dr. Luke Minion, President and CEO of Pipestone System also accused the undercover investigator at the farm also violated their animal welfare policy by not taking "specific actions aimed at protecting the welfare of the animals as the Pipestone System policies dictate, but instead was solely motivated to obtain undercover footage for Mercy for Animals without any true regard for the immediate welfare of the animals."