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Pig Factories: ‘We’re Humane’

Old McDonald had a farm. But those kinds of farms are long gone. In today’s world, McDonalds has factory farms that it contracts with. And what goes on at the pig factories has been so well documented in undercover videos by Mercy for Animals, the Humane Society of the U.S. and others that McDonalds, Burger King and the other major fast food restaurants have been scrambling to insist on new protocols for the pigs. So have the big grocery chains like Costco, Wal-Mart, K-Mart and others.

But the factory farms are not taking this lying down. (At least they can lie down, unlike the mother pigs themselves who are condemned to live their lives in a crate so small they can neither turn around or even lie down.) One industry publication, the Pig Site, which offers what it calls “free, easy, anytime anywhere access to global pig news items that influence decision makers,” insists that the videos are lying. [readon]

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, says the National Pork Producers Council.

According to NPPC, the undercover video from a Minnesota hog farm released on 18 July 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, says NPPC.

NPPC reports that the video released 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.”

So, as Groucho Marx might have said, you can either believe the pork producers council is saying … or what your lying eyes are telling you.