The images depicting healthy pigs on Iowa Select Farm‘s website differ tremendously from the images in the disturbing video released this week by Mercy For Animals. For three months, a MFA investigator, working undercover at the poultry production facility, documented horrific treatment of pigs at the Iowa factory farm. I watched the video and will never EVER be the same person again. I don’t eat beef, poultry or pork for a variety of reasons but I’m fairly certain that if I did, I would be passing on the pork chops from this day forward.
The pigs in the video live in deplorably filthy and overcrowded conditions, are tossed about like sacks of flour, and have their tails docked and are castrated without anesthesia or pain-killers. The sick and injured pigs are left to suffer to death or have their heads slammed against the ground in what is “an approved method of euthanasia” in the pork industry although supposedly against company policy according to Iowa Select’s senior veterinarian and director of external affairs, Howard Hill.
Kroger, Costco, Safeway and Hy-Vee are the four retail chains that buy Iowa Select pork. You can avoid purchasing pork from Iowa Select by looking for a 3S or 3W stamp on the packaging. Those stamps indicate that the pork was processed by the facility that processes Iowa Select pork. Keep in mind that the processing plant that uses the 3S and 3W stamps also processes pork form other facilities so you will potentially be boycotting the other factory farms as well.
While videos of animal abuse are nothing new (recall the Hallmark Meat Packing fiasco in 2008), this situation brings more to light than just disturbing agricultural practices and their impact to animal welfare and public health. In what seems to be an effort to protect these horrific farming practices, Iowa is in the process of passing legislation that would make it illegal to gain access to a livestock facility by false pretense while applying for employment and also make it illegal to videotape without the owner’s permission. The livestock production organizations claim that these laws will aid in getting incidents of animal abuse reported and taken care of promptly. Really? Exactly how is that going to work? Opponents say it would stop employees from documenting abuse and negatively affect food safety and animal protection.
Think back to the release of the Hallmark Meat Packing video released in January 2008 which showed “downer” cows being shocked, dragged and prodded by forklifts in an attempt to get them to get up to pass inspection. The undercover footage of the cow abuse at that Chino slaughterhouse resulted in the largest beef recall in U.S. history, the nation’s first felony animal-abuse convictions of slaughterhouse workers and legislation that aims to improve living conditions for farm animals while protecting the public from consuming meat from sick animals. Cows with mad cow disease or other illnesses pose a serious health risk to the humans and pets that consume the contaminated meat.
With that in mind, I don’t see how making it a crime to videotape inside a livestock facility without the owner’s permission has the public’s best interest at heart. I’m pretty sure the only interest they have is self-interest.
The MFA video below is graphic, disturbing and contains content that is inappropriate for some users.