KY Hog Farm secret investigation alleges inhumane treatment of animals / Public Information Service

FRANKFORT, Ky. – The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) claims its secret investigation from an industrial farm in Kentucky shows how the hog industry is still in the Dark Ages.

Paul Shapiro, vice president of the Society for the Welfare of Farm Animals, said the recent investigation at Iron Maiden Hog ​​Farm in Owensboro found sows confined in cramped cages known as gestation cages. .

“They are unable to turn around, essentially, for years,” he said. “This immobilized state drives the animals, essentially, crazy.”

The organization is pushing for the state’s Livestock Care Standards Commission to ban the practice.

More than 60 major food companies have told their pork suppliers not to use gestation cages, and some major producers – including Cargill, Smithfield and Tyson – say they are moving away from their use.

The Humane Society investigation also revealed that caged sows were receiving crushed intestines from piglets that died from a highly contagious diarrheal disease (porcine epidemic diarrhea virus).

Shapiro says more than 900 piglets died over a two-day period at Iron Maiden’s pig farm.

“The pork industry turns pigs into cannibals,” he says. “We have seen what happens when the cows are reintroduced into the cows.

Shapiro says the practice is prohibited by Kentucky law and may violate federal law, the Swine Health Protection Act.

But, the Kentucky Livestock Coalition says the farm “appears to use a widely accepted management practice recommended by veterinarians” to inoculate pigs with the virus, which involves using “the intestines or stool of affected pigs” to save others.

Michael Blackwell, senior director of veterinary policy at the HSUS, points out that the virus is rampant in pork production facilities nationwide.

“What we are talking about is your food supply,” he stresses. “This recent outbreak is clear proof that we have yet to challenge an industry that says it has everything under control.”

Blackwell says the hope is the investigation will lead to changes in what he calls routine practices on many hog farms.

Attempts to reach Iron Maiden officials for comment were unsuccessful.

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Boyd S. Abbott

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