An undercover investigation of a U.S. pig farm appears to have unearthed a disturbing practice -- pigs crammed into gestation crates being fed ground-up intestines from diseased baby pigs.
A video, released by the Humane Society of the United States, shows graphic and brutal conditions at the Iron Maiden Hog Farm in Owensboro, Kentucky.
"The entire atmosphere at this facility is awful for animals, many of whom are perpetually immobilized and suffering from body sores, diarrhea attacks and prolapsed uteruses," Paul Shapiro, the organization's vice president of farm animal protection, said in a press release.
“Routine practices at many hog factories — immobilizing sows for their entire lives, feeding dead pigs to live pigs, denying medical treatment to injured or ailing animals — just don’t sit well with American consumers," added Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. "This industry is long overdue for a major course correction, and we hope this investigation triggers an examination at what’s happening behind closed doors on factory farms.”
The organization cited the following during its investigation of the pig farm:
- Animals locked in cages so small, they couldn’t even turn around for essentially their entire lives.
- Intestines of piglets who died from severe diarrhea — a highly contagious disease plaguing pig facilities nationwide — were routinely fed back to their mothers and other breeding females.
- Piglets left to die—often suffering for days. Over a 2-3 day period more than 900 piglets died of the highly contagious diarrheal disease;
- Sick and injured sows left without care, including one sow who suffered from an extreme uterine prolapse for nearly two days before finally dying;
- Lame sows – whose hind legs became too weak from strict confinement to support their weight—"hobbled" to keep their legs from splaying. Their legs are bound together so they could stand in their crates. Some sows had tight hobbles on for so long that the rope had cut into their flesh or had grown over the rope hobble.