Suppliers and restaurants are turning away from pig gestation crates that critics call cruel and abusive. McDonalds, Chipotle, Burger King, and Wendy’s are among some of the restaurants that will phasing out selling pork products from farms that use gestation crates. However, Wal-Mart is still buying pork from farms that force pigs into tiny crates so small they can’t turn around.
Wal-Mart says they offer their consumers a choice: both gestation crate free and gestation raised pork. But critics, like Mercy for Animals say that is like offering a choice between cruelty and non-cruelty. Mercy for Animals performed an undercover investigation at one farm that uses gestation crates. WARNING: Some of this video is disturbing. You can read statements from all parties involved below.
Mercy For Animals
Between December of 2011 and March of 2012, an MFA investigator documented egregious cruelty and neglect at a Christensen Farms facility in Hanska, Minnesota, including:
Thousands of mother pigs confined to filthy, metal gestation crates so small they are unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives;
Pigs suffering from large, open wounds and pressure sores from rubbing against the bars of their tiny cages or lying on the hard concrete flooring;
"We will not tolerate animal mistreatment by our suppliers. As soon as we were made aware of the video, we immediately reached out to our suppliers who source from this farm. Although industry experts approve of the farm's practices, if we determine that there was mistreatment, we will take action.
We currently offer gestation crate-free pork products in a number of stores across the U.S.
We have been having and will continue on-going discussions with our suppliers, NGOs and food safety experts to find ways to increase that number.
We believe in offering our customers a choice."
Radical Animal-Rights Group Not Telling Truth About Animal Care
Providing humane and compassionate care for their pigs at every stage of life is one of the ethical principles followed by America's family hog farmers, who know better than anyone what's best for their animals.
The undercover video from a Minnesota hog farm released today is from an animal rights group that, along with the Humane Society of the United States, has as a goal ending food-animal production in this country. Both groups repeatedly have grossly misrepresented what is shown in such videos and not told the truth about how farmers raise and care for their animals.
Such groups have used videos, including the one today, in an attempt to link alleged abuse to the use of gestation stalls for sows. Such housing systems, which allow hog farmers to provide the best care to sows, have nothing to do with abuse.
The video released today does not show abuse of animals. An independent panel comprised of animal-care experts who reviewed the video agreed, concluding that the "there were no signs of animal cruelty, abuse or neglect. The sows were clean, free of lesions, calm and in good condition.
Christensen Farms & Feedlots, Inc. is a long-standing producer of high-quality pork products and a pioneer in seeking new
ways to improve production procedures. The Company is committed to utilizing best practices supported by scientific research to promote good individual animal health.
Mercy for Animals, an animal rights group that promotes “veganism”, released an undercover video targeting Christensen Farms and a number of large grocery retailers. The video purports to show a typical operation of a pork production facility, but the images shown in the video are dated and are intentionally taken out of context.
“Taking proper care of our animals is our primary goal and essential to the success of our business,” said Robert Christensen, chief executive officer of Christensen Farms. “Over the years, we have continually challenged ourselves to improve our operational practices and compliance with industry standards. As one of the largest pork production companies in the U.S., we take our responsibility as a steward to the industry and the animal very important.”
Recently, Christensen Farms made the decision to adopt an innovative method of euthanasia using carbon dioxide to prevent the suffering of sick or injured piglets. The Company continues to seek improvements, including evaluating options for animal housing.