“When you walk in, all of these sows are showing this volume of insanity. They’re swaying, they’re biting the bars, they’re listing in front of the cages and they’re docked and bloody.”
That’s how the undercover investigator from the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) describes what she saw on her first day at Wyoming Premium Farms. (See our earlier report on how the company was busted by the HSUS.)
Huffington Post has a detailed (and original) report, including interviews with the investigator and with Doug DeRouchey, the manager of the factory farm which is owned by the Japanese meat processing giant Itoham.
DeRouchey says the company is conducting its own investigation. He says five employees have been fired, and that “There’s probably going to be changes — we don’t know what.”
Had DeRouchey and his managers never even walked into the facility? Was what the investigator saw when she first walked in complete news to him? Doesn’t he have a nose? According to the investigator:
“The first thing you’d notice is the smell of the barn … You can smell it from the street. People who were excited to have somebody new would tell me things like, ‘You’re going to see some f***ed-up sh*t.'”
She notes that not all the employees were abusive, and that she had made friends with one worker who was bothered by what was happening there:
“I watched her apologize to some of the sows. She’d let them out during weaning. She’d walk around and treat abscesses on her own without being told to, and she was the only one that would.”
But most of the time, the pigs were being treated like old trash.
“They would just kick a sow in the face to get her to turn around, and the sow would scream and run away. And I would just stand there and act like it was normal. And they think it is normal, because they’ve just been doing it for so long, or because that’s just how everybody else does it, or just because that’s the easiest way.”
DeRouchey claims that the pigs are happier in the gestation crates (where they literally don’t even have room to turn around) than they would be outside. “There’s a lot of noise going on because [what you see in the undercover video is] feeding time,” he says. “Most people don’t realize that’s what’s going on. They’re all happy at the gestation stall environment: they all get fed at the same time.”
In fact, McDonalds, Safeway, Burger King and others are scrambling to distance themselves from factory farms that box their pigs up for life in these crates. California, Arizona and Florida have banned them, as have the U.K. and Sweden, with Denmark to follow next year.
If the manager of Wyoming Premium really thinks pigs are happy living in a crate, he should try it himself. If he’s just pretending they’re happy, he should be fired and put in a crate. Either way is fine.
Read the full story in HuffPo.