Yesterday, The Humane Society of the United States released shocking undercover video footage from its recent investigation at a Virginia pig factory farm owned by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world's largest pork producer.
According to the undercover investigator, who spent a month at the Smithfield facility, female breeding pigs were routinely crammed inside tiny metal "gestation crates" so small they could barely move for their entire lives. Many pigs were found suffering from untreated injuries and open pressure sores that developed from their merciless confinement. Driven mad by such tight confinement, pigs were often seen engaging in disturbed behaviors, such as repeated bar biting, indicating severe distress. Some had even bitten so hard and frequently that blood from their mouths coated the fronts of their crates.
Last year, an MFA investigator documented similar conditions at a pig factory farm in Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania. Unfortunately, such extreme cruelty to pigs is commonplace on modern farms. More than 100 million pigs are forced to endure a life of misery and neglect each year in the United States alone. Mother pigs spend most of their lives in individual gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies. Piglets are taken from their mothers when they are as young as 10 days old and packed into overcrowded pens after having their tails cut off, their teeth clipped and their testicles ripped out of their bodies without any painkillers. After only five or six months they are loaded onto transport trucks and shipped to slaughter.