NBC News says the video has workers on tape kicking, hitting and throwing pigs around, as well as slamming piglets into the ground. Frown face.
“We’re extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling,” said Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods. “We are immediately terminating our contract with this farmer and will take possession of the animals remaining on the farm.”
Meanwhile the farm’s owner says the video does show “mistreatment” of the animals and says the issue won’t end here.
“I was stunned that anyone could be that callous in their treatment of any animal,” he said. “After viewing the video, I immediately returned to my farm and terminated the employees seen in the video.”
The animal rights group Mercy for Animals sent an activist undercover to work as a farmhand from mid-September to mid-October. While he was there, he captured footage at the business that supplies pork products to Tyson. The group says what happens in the video, as witnessed by the activist, violates a state animal cruelty law.
“This factory farm is hell on Earth for pigs,” said Nathan Runkle, executive director of Mercy for Animals. “Tyson has allowed a culture of cruelty and neglect to fester at this factory farm facility. This is some of the most sadistic and malicious cruelty to animals I have ever witnessed.”
The undercover worker says it was pretty much an awful experience to see the “commonplace and constant” abuse, which he says included hitting, kicking, throwing, striking animals with the edges of wooden boards, sticking fingers in their eyes, and leaving piglets to die slowly after they were slammed into the ground “in failed euthanasia attempts.”
“On three separate occasions, I reported abuse to the owner,” he says. “After each report, the abuse continued by workers, and all of the workers I questioned told me that that owner had not spoken to them recently about animal handling.”
The owner denies the undercover worker ever brought up the alleged abuse, saying his workers only used approved euthanasia methods when necessary.
“It is a part of the business and there are prescribed methods of euthanasia and I follow those to a T,” he said.
Anyone with a strong stomach and brave heart can watch the video over at NBC News, but be warned that it’s very graphic and could be upsetting. Because piglets… little piglets. Ugh.