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Mercy For Animals Undercover Investigation Reveals Shocking Animal Cruelty at Walmart Pork Supplier

An undercover investigation by an animal rights group has revealed shocking abuse of pigs at a Minnesota factory farm that supplies pork products to Walmart, the world’s largest retailer.

The hidden camera footage was recorded by activists from Mercy For Animals at Pipestone System’s Rosewood Farms in Pipestone, Minnesota. Among the horrific abuses caught on camera:

  • Thousands of mother pigs confined to filthy, metal gestation crates so small they are unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives.
  • Workers beating, throwing, slapping, hitting and screaming obscenities at pigs and piglets.
  • Workers slamming piglets into the ground and leaving them to slowly suffer and die.
  • Workers ripping out the testicles and slicing off the tails of fully conscious piglets without the use of any painkillers.
  • Sick and injured pigs with severe, bleeding wounds or infections left to suffer without veterinary care.

The practice of killing piglets on the production floor is known in the industry as ‘thumping.’

“It can be horribly cruel,” Mercy For Animals executive director Nathan Runkle told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Piglets are often killed because “they are not growing as fast as other pigs, they’re runts,” said Runkle.

“The suffering experienced by the animals is gratuitous, unnecessary, abusive and counterproductive,” animal welfare expert Dr. Bernard Rollin told KARE 11 after viewing the disturbing video. Rollin added that the use of gestation crates “is arguably the worst practice in confinement agriculture.”

“I fully expect that, in a few years, we will see the end of the use of such crates everywhere in the civilized world,” Rollin predicted.

Local law enforcement officials reportedly raided Rosewood Farms and launched an investigation after viewing the Mercy For Animals video.

Pipestone System said that it believes the video was shot by former employee Jessica Marie Buck, who the company believes is an undercover activist with Mercy For Animals. The company says it has launched its own internal investigation into the abuse and has terminated one employee, reassigned another and ordered others to undergo “extensive retraining.”

“We have to take action,” Pipestone System CEO Luke Minion, a veterinarian, said in a statement. “Certain parts of the video are not defensible and we do not condone them. Other parts of the video are industry-accepted practices that we support and do everyday.”

Minion added that the video presents an “unfair” portrayal of “the effort we put forth to do the right thing everyday.” He also criticized Buck, who he said took no “specific actions” to try and help the suffering pigs in the video.

“Ms. Buck’s own actions while on the sow farm clearly violated our animal welfare policy,” Minion asserted. “It is clear that Ms. Buck did not take specific actions aimed at protecting the welfare of animals as Pipestone System policies dictate, but instead was solely motivated to obtain undercover footage for Mercy For Animals without any true regard for the immediate welfare of the animals.”

Dave Preisler, executive director of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, told KARE 11 that Mercy For Animals was motivated by “one very clear agenda.”

“It is a vegan society,” Preisler said. “They do not want anyone to eat meat.”

Matt Rice, Mercy For Animals’ director of investigations, conceded that his organization “does proudly promote a vegetarian diet.”

“But we are also a pragmatic organization,” Rice told KARE 11. “We understand that not everybody is going to go vegetarian, especially not overnight. In the meantime, we are talking about literally millions of animals who are suffering nightmarish conditions inside these factory farms.”

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