“Pig Hell” at Wal-Mart and Costco Supplier Captured On Video

“When he bolted her the first time, she didn’t die. She just stood there looking stunned as blood trickled from her forehead. She then got her bearings and tried to turn and run.”

“The gas cart was filled to the brim with pigs today, a total of 39, including 9 large pigs that were at weaning age. They were left in the cart all day to trample each other, before being gassed all at once.”

Read the diary and watch the video of undercover investigator Mike who worked at the Country View/Hatfield Quality Meats hog farm last spring and you’re sure laws are being broken and the operation will be shut down. Wrong. There is nothing illegal in one of the most gruesome videos to circulate the Web says Mercy For Animals (MFA) who conducted the investigation, because there are no farm welfare laws to break.

As the anti-factory farming movement gains momentum, many have heard about gestation crates, enclosures so small sows can’t turn around, that are banned in the European Union and some states. They have heard of tail docking and castration without anesthesia–also banned in some European countries–manure lagoons, dead piles and animals that go cage crazy from their confinement.

But who knew the euthanasia of unwanted piglets and their mothers was so primitive?

Video shows whimpering, seven pound piglets still breathing and blinking at the bottom of the death cart after being gassed with carbon dioxide hours earlier. “32 starve-outs, 16 runts, 10 ruptures, 9 poor quality, 3 deformed and 2 joint infections” were killed in five days writes Mike, who was hired to work as a barn technician last May.

Who knew shooting an animal with a captive bolt pistol — designed to catastrophically damage the cerebrum, part of the cerebellum, upon penetrating the cranium — might work and then again might not? “My supervisor told me she was dubbing my coworker ‘Two-Shot’ in light of the fact he rarely kills the sow with one bolt,” says Mike.

Working in a hot, fly and manure infested hog barn amid screams of 2,784 sows, 483 sows with litters, 864 gilts, 5,400 nursery pigs and 15 boars could make anyone snap. But some of the workers sound snapped before working at Country View.

One told Mike he prays to run over animals on the highway and was looking forward to bolting a prolapsed sow because “I just feel like killing something.” Another worker swung a ruptured pig into the gas cart telling it with glee to “die, %#@&,” employing a racial epithet.

Veterinarians viewing the Country View video cite disturbing violations of their profession’s oath.

“There are dead piglets in the farrowing crates, and one moribund piglet is captured on video in her last minutes of life,” says Illinois veterinarian Debra Teachout. “She is in trembling and in lateral recumbency, respirations are shallow and gasping, eye is swollen and shut. There is a large lesion on her face, and suggests that she is dying of sepsis. This piglet should never have been allowed to get to this point without medical intervention.”

“The pig seizuring in the stall unattended is nightmarish, as is the sloppy use of the captive bolt,” says Bernard Rollin, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and Pew Commission member. “The gas ‘euthanasia’ using CO2 is widespread in the industry. It is horrendous, as the animals suffocate and experience major fear and distress.”

Nor is it possible to overlook the animals’ intelligence, says Mike who found a sow had liberated herself and her litter from her crate by loosening steel pegs in two different places. “I told a co-worker this story and she said that when a sow figures out how to unlock her crate, she often goes around unlocking all of the other crates as well,” wrote Mike.

Pigs also can jump hoops, bow, stand, spin, “speak” on command, roll out a rug, herd sheep, play videogames and use mirrors to find food, reports New York Times science columnist Natalie Angier. They “like being touched and petted,” says Mike.

Like the poultry and egg farms it has investigated, the choice of Country View/Hatfield Quality Meats at 12722 Creek Road in Fannettsburg, PA was random–and the practices recorded, universal across the industry, says Chicago-based Mercy For Animals. Hatfield is one of the nation’s top pork providers and supplies Wal-Mart, IGA Shaw’s, Stop & Shop, Sam’s, Club, Costco, Giant and other well known food chains.

“We are calling on the nation’s largest grocery chains to take a stand against egregious cruelty to animals,” says MFA executive director Nathan Runkle. “These companies have the power and the responsibility to ensure that the products sold on their shelves come from producers who have abandoned the abusive practices uncovered in our investigation.”

Martha Rosenberg is a columnist/cartoonist who writes about public health. Her first book, titled Born with a Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp the Public Health, has just been released by Prometheus Books. She can be reached at: martharosenberg@sbcglobal.net. Read other articles by Martha.

11 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. kalidas said on November 18th, 2009 at 11:55am #

    “Flesh-eating is simply immoral, as it involves the performance of an act which is contrary to moral feeling–killing.” Leo Tolstoy

    In the words of George Bernard Shaw:

    We are living graves of murdered beasts

    Slaughtered to satisfy our appetites.

    We never pause to wonder at our feasts,

    If animals like men could possibly have rights.

    .

    We pray on Sunday that we may have light,

    To guide our footsteps on the paths we tread.

    We are sick of war, we do not want to fight,

    And we gorge ourselves upon the dead.

    .

    Like Carrion Crows we live and feed on meat,

    Regardless of the suffering and pain

    We cause by doing so, in this we treat,

    Defenseless animals for sport or gain -

    .

    How can we hope in this world to attain

    The peace we say we are so anxious for,

    We pray for it o’er hetacomba of slain,

    To God while outraging the moral law,

    Thus cruelty begets the offspring — WAR !

  2. b99 said on November 18th, 2009 at 1:22pm #

    Flesh-eating in and of itself is not immoral. We are animals after all – and carnivorism is common to all ‘higher’ primates – and most ‘lower’ ones as well. At every stage of the way, from pre-homonid to early human, our ancestors ate meat on an occasional basis.

  3. kalidas said on November 18th, 2009 at 3:06pm #

    I’m more inclined to agree with Shaw, Tolstoy, Plutarch, Pythagoras, etc., etc., etc., than with you, b99.
    But hey, that’s just me.
    If you need to disassociate the sadistic behavior and pain and suffering that these innocent living creatures feel, from your dinner and resort to ad homonid excuses, then that’s that.

    “At every stage of the way.” The way where?
    That’s the point.

  4. volker munz said on November 18th, 2009 at 3:12pm #

    what you do unto ‘udders’ will be done to you; though naught apparent to the ‘i’, genetically alla the pigletti’s dna which some will consume, well that dna ‘rememberance’ will manifest in your own beingnesse …
    small wonder we gets more fehked up as we goes along – as above, so below; as within, so without – inch hort, we are what we eat, right down to thee uh dna level

  5. B99 said on November 18th, 2009 at 4:18pm #

    The way where? At every stage of Homo Sapiens evolution – that way. It’s not really a matter of whether Shaw and the gang ate meat or recommended not to do so. It’s just a biological fact that primates eat meat. It is not immoral for primates to do so and so is not immoral for humans to do so – as we are primates.
    Whether killing animals is sadistic behavior is another question altogether. Whether abattoirs are sadistic, whether factory farming is sadistic, whether the entire industrial food process is an abomination is entirely a different question than whether it is immoral to eat meat.
    It’s not even relevant as to whether I eat meat or not – but if I’m in Bangladesh or Burkina Faso – and I’ve got money for a skinny chicken – I’m not going to let well-fed vegetarians in the US talk me out of it because it’s immoral.

  6. kalidas said on November 18th, 2009 at 4:51pm #

    “Shaw and the gang.”
    Well, that does it for me..

  7. onecansay said on November 18th, 2009 at 7:16pm #

    Well, I do suggest you all have the large food distro corps boycott these farms or farming corps. Then we can let the Walmart type import the meat and all other foodstuff from countries that HAVE NO FOOD REGULATIONS. You all want your cake and eat it too. Well, let China produce everything for US, including food and then when that supply is cut off where will you go? You all will starve. POP REDUX. Why not just swallow a bottle of Drano?

  8. kalidas said on November 19th, 2009 at 8:43am #

    Look, I’m not blind to obvious circumstance.
    As I’ve said before, it is unrealistic to expect people who live in ice covered regions, deserts, high mountains, etc. to not eat meat.
    But people who live in areas where there are ample grains, fruits, nuts, vegetables, etc. are perfectly able to do this.

    Perhaps it really is a matter of evolution.

  9. B99 said on November 19th, 2009 at 4:10pm #

    That’s fine if people want to eat just veggies (though the problem getting B-6 gives the lie to humans being entirely vegetarian). And factory farming and industrial food are abominations. But people have been slaughtering animals since before they were people – just like lions and wolves do – and contrary to popular wisdom, the prey DOES suffer when attacked and killed – it’s not just that lions snuff out the wildebeest’s life in seconds. It’s a horrible death. We humans can CERTAINLY slaughter animals in a manner that is not as painful to the animal as being killed by a carnivore. And these ‘domesticated’ species – which are a select group cultivated by humans for nearly ten thousand years – should be a minor part of our diet. We don’t need so much meat.

    But it is not unnatural for humans to eat meat. That’s another concept altogether. If it were biologically unnatural for people to eat meat, as it is biologically unnatural for cows to eat meat (or feces, and they are fed both) then I would agree – no meat eating. But that’s just not the case – we are, like suidae, omnivores.

  10. Annie Ladysmith said on November 20th, 2009 at 2:24am #

    But BB9, there is no evolution. It’s just ANOTHER BIG LIE!
    No-one should eat pig, it is forbidden. These poor creatures should not be bread for such purposes and in such numbers. Everywhere were man slaughters the animals it is done in the cruelist way possible. The RIGHTEOUS look after the wellfare of animals. Tells a sad tale about humans! No compassion, no heart, no soul, no spirit, the executioners only know torture and death. They are being trained with pigs now so they will be ready to staff the FEMA camps!

  11. B99 said on November 20th, 2009 at 7:42pm #

    Annie – If we only ate meat once a week, or once a fortnight, then factory farming and industrial food production could be eliminated. Domesticated animals could truly live free-range and be slaughtered humanely. Much of the problem is that we are taught to eat meat at every meal, so the abattoirs are turning out carcasses faster than ever. If we ate meat sparingly, the animals would not have to be fed meat and shit and filler and antibiotics. And much cropland could be taken out of animal-feed production and used to feed people instead. And the burden on the environment of 30 billion large creatures would be virtually eliminated. And people would live longer and be slimmer. Eventually, many people would give up meat altogether.

    But I believe, because humans have always eaten meat, there will still be some who continue to do so. And in the underdeveloped world meat-eating is a rare blessing that provides a protein and nutrient wallop like no other food. It will take time before meat-eating culture evolves out of existence.