KANSAS CITY, Mo. – “Unacceptable and indefensible” were the words used by an Animal Care Review Panel to describe the mistreatment of piglets and sows at a Wyoming hog farm. The abuse was revealed via an undercover video produced by the Humane Society of the United States.
The Center for Food Integrity assembled the panel to review the video and determine if abuse occurred. The panelists are Dr. Temple Grandin, a faculty member in the animal sciences department at Colorado State Univ.; Dr. Candace Croney, associate professor of Animal Sciences at Purdue Univ.; and Dr. John Deen, a veterinarian and professor at the Univ. of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.
“There’s definitely abusive animal handling shown in that video,”Grandin said. “Kicking and throwing piglets? This farm definitely has management issues. A well run operation would not be doing these kinds of things.”
The panel noted that they did not review an unedited version of the video, and that doing so would have allowed them to place the case in better context.
“But there is no context I can think of that would make the egregious handling seen in this video acceptable,” Croney said. “If what is captured in this video is an accurate portrayal of what’s going on at this farm, there are so many different people complicit in abusive handling that it strongly suggests there is a culture in this particular facility of absolute indifference to the animals.
“It totally contradicts all the hard work and efforts of those in the industry who are committed to providing quality animal care,” she added. “That kind of attitude has to be corrected from the top down. They need to look very carefully at what’s happening on their farm – who they’re selecting to work there, what sort of education they’re offering their people, and make a concerted effort to correct all of the problems that were clearly evident in that video.”
Deen noted that farms in remote locations may be challenged to find employees who understand that hog farming is “a complex and responsible activity.”
“Hog farm workers need to understand right from wrong and when they see things that aren’t consistent with good animal care they need to let somebody know,” he said.