HSUS takes Tyson complaint to SEC

by Meat&Poultry Staff
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WASHINGTON – The Humane Society of the United States has filed a complaint with the Securities and Exchange Commission over Tyson Foods, Inc.’s response to an undercover video made at a Wisconsin hog facility.

The complaint alleges that Tyson violated securities law by making deceptive public statements in response to an HSUS hidden video made at Wyoming Premium Farms. HSUS said Tyson’s statement that the company audits its suppliers for compliance to the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program is deceptive in that the company omitted facts about the program and how the company uses it. HSUS also said the Pork Quality Assurance Plus program is unenforceable, making meaningful audits impossible.

“Tyson is trying to soothe concerned consumers by claiming to follow rigid animal welfare standards that simply do not exist,” says Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president for animal protection litigation at The HSUS. “The pork industry’s self-created, anemic quality assurance program that Tyson referenced is an empty shell intended to conceal cruel gestation crate confinement and forestall meaningful animal welfare improvements.”

Tyson countered the HSUS allegations with a few of its own in a statement on the company's website.

"We’ve not seen any complaint filed with the SEC so it’s difficult to provide a specific comment," the company said. "However, we will note that according to a new Humane Watch survey, HSUS appears to be deceiving its donors. The survey of more than 1,000 donors to HSUS, found that 90 percent were unaware that the organization gives just 1 percent of its budget to local pet shelters.

"After learning that the HSUS did not spend a majority of its funds assisting local pet shelters, 80 percent of the HSUS donors polled believed the group engaged in deceptive fundraising practices."

Tyson again said the mistreatment of animals in the HSUS video was appalling, and that the mistreatment shown had nothing to do with gestation crates.

"Let’s also make it clear that Tyson does not own, operate or have any contractual relationship with the Wyoming farm, which is primarily involved in providing feeder pigs to other companies not affiliated with Tyson Foods," the company added.

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