Christensen Farms, one of the largest pork producers in the U.S., has suspended seven employees after an undercover video showed systematic animal cruelty and neglect.
The undercover video was taken by Last Chance for Animals (LCA) at a “breed-to-wean” facility in Luverne, MN.
According to Food Safety News, the video appears to show widespread animal cruelty:
“Workers made sows with severe injuries walk, dragged sows by their ears and snouts, and slapped, kicked and stabbed downed sows. In addition, LCA charges that piglets were not properly euthanized and that management failed to euthanize pigs suffering from debilitating illnesses and injuries.”
LCA informed Christensen Farms of the video before giving it to local authorities. The company then suspended the accused, pending an investigation.
“We were disappointed to learn of alleged violations of our animal welfare policies at one of our facilities,” Christensen Farms CEO Glenn Stolt said in a statement, reports the Star Tribune. “At Christensen Farms, we take the health and welfare of our animals very seriously. It is our responsibility, and we owe it to our packer customers and consumers to provide uncompromising care to our animals. There is no place in this industry for individuals who mistreat animals.”
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Stolt also said that portions of the video were disturbing.
LCA released the gruesome video, which shows pigs being slapped and stabbed with ink pens in order to get them to walk, as well as sick and wounded pigs being forced to stay in “sick pens” without treatment for weeks at a time, according to the Star Tribune. LCA said the video showed 18 cases of animal cruelty and 17 cases of neglect under state law.
In 2012, Mercy for Animals, another animal welfare group, shot footage at Christensen Farms that showed hogs in gestation crates, which are commonly used in the industry. According to The Humane Society of the United States, most breeding pigs in the U.S. are confined to gestation crates for most of their lives. The crates are approximately 2 feet wide—so small that the pig can’t turn around or take more than one step forward or backward inside it.
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