Hormel Investigating Supplier Accused Of Abusing Animals

Hormel Foods has suspended buying from one of its largest suppliers and opened an investigation into its practices after an animal rights group secretly taped workers at the plant allegedly mistreating and abusing pigs. 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that Hormel opened an investigation into supplier, The Maschhoffs, after Mercy for Animals published undercover video footage that reportedly showed pigs suffering injuries and illnesses, such as workers removing testicles and tails without pain relief.

The group — which has previously filmed footage at other several chicken farms used by Tyson — also claims in the footage from the Oklahoma sow farm that mother pigs are kept in tight gestation crates leaving them with little ability to move.

Hormel tells the Star Tribune that it has a strict code of conduct for suppliers, and policies in place related to animal care and welfare.

“We will not tolerate any violation of these policies,” the company said in a statement.

To investigate the footage, Hormel says it has sent third-party auditors to the farm and other Maschhoffs properties.

While the company probes the allegations, the Star Tribune notes that Hormel is currently transitioning its own hog farms to group sow housing to allow for more mobility — a project that is expected to be completed next year.

However, 94% of Hormel’s pork is raised by suppliers. To that end, The Maschhoffs launched its own investigation into the footage and issued warnings to employees and farm managers that it has a zero tolerance animal care policy.

“We have launched a full-scale investigation in response to this video,” Maschhoffs President Bradley Wolter said in a statement. “Any animal care deficiencies discovered will be addressed in the quickest manner possible.”

Mercy for Animals has produced several undercover videos at plants used by food companies. Last year, a video shot at four Tyson Foods’ supplier allegedly showed birds are suffering in windowless sheds and enduring injuries.

Two months later, the company said it had fired 10 employees from the four Virginia processing plants.

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