Dr. Ian Duncan, professor emeritus of animal welfare at the University of Guelph in Canada, calls it “the worst cruelty inflicted on an animal that I have witnessed in many years.”
And a panel of experts, called in by the Canadian pork council, says that what’s shown in the undercover video, filmed by Mercy for Animals, is mostly “standard industry practice.”
This latest undercover video from Mercy for Animals was taken at one of Canada’s largest pork producers, Puratone, in Arborg, Manitoba.
Hundreds of pigs are seen in gestation crates, unable even to turn around or lie down. Others are thrown around, kicked, beaten, and dragged by their ears to their death.
“Every single day our investigator identified issues of absolutely horrific animal cruelty,” Stéphane Perrais, Mercy for Animals Canada’s director of operations told the Montreal Gazette. This was the first such undercover operation conducted by Mercy for Animals in Canada, and Perrais said he has good reason to believe that what you see in the video is common on factory farms around the country. In this case, the factory farm was chosen randomly, not as a result of prior information.
Puratone says on its website: “We are disturbed by some of the images, shown in the video taken at one of our farming sites, which do not reflect our animal welfare policy and principles.”
Of course, that’s what these companies always say. An undercover investigator goes in and sees horrific cruelty in plain sight and on a daily basis. And when they see the video, the management says they knew nothing about it. (If they truly didn’t know, that in itself is grounds for shutting the whole operation down.)
“It was hard to see those images,” said Gaëlle Leruste of the Fédération des Producteurs de Porc du Québec. “(Producers) just want their best for the animals and when you see this video, it hurts the whole industry. It’s condemning all pork producers, and the vast majority of producers are not doing that.”
Except that they are. The Canadian pork council, a trade association, invited a panel of experts from the U.S.-based Center for Food Integrity to review the video. According to the Montreal Gazette:
The three-member panel, composed of a veterinarian, an ethicist and an animal scientist, concluded that while some scenes in the video are disturbing, most of what is seen is standard industry practice. But swinging a piglet into a metal post was not acceptable, nor was kicking or pulling on a pig’s ears, the expert panel said.
Standard industry practice.
Here’s the video from Mercy for Animals. Be warned that it’s upsetting.