22 Charges Filed Based
on PETA Investigation at Hormel Supplier
October 23, 2008 - Christine Dore
It's with a proud and
ecstatic heart that I report this news today! Our
investigation into an Iowa pig
farm that breeds piglets destined for Hormel has resulted in
22—that's right, count them—22 criminal charges.
The Greene County Sheriff just announced in a news release that six individuals
employed by the farm at the time of PETA's investigation now face a total of 22
counts of livestock neglect and abuse. Those charged include a former farm
manager—who we understand still works on another pig factory farm—and a
supervisor, as well as two individuals who still punch the clock at the Iowa
factory farm as we speak.
A whopping 14 of the counts are aggravated misdemeanors—the stiffest possible
charges under Iowa state law for crimes committed against farmed
animals—carrying up to two years behind bars. To PETA's knowledge, this is
Charges based on PETA's undercover investigations are now pending against pig
factory farmers in both Iowa—the nation's top pig-raising state—and
which occupies the second rung on that dubious list!
This is a small victory for farmed animals, but we mustn't forget that Hormel,
which financially supports this farm, has by all appearances yet to make any
changes as a result of this investigation. It has refused to meet with us or
even watch all of the footage, which we have repeatedly offered to show the
company. Maybe now that the law has spoken up, Hormel will finally listen.
January 31, 2017
Responds to Allegations of Animal Abuse at Supplier Farm in Oklahoma
- Officials with Minnesota-based Hormel Foods have responded to allegations of
animal abuse at an Oklahoma farm that supplies the company.
video released by nonprofit organization Mercy For Animals of a Maschhoffs sow
farm depicts sows suffering from injuries, illnesses and overcrowding in
gestation crates, among other scenes of animal abuse, according to the
response, Hormel officials issued a statement indicating they are aware of the
video and have, as a result, "suspended the supplier's Oklahoma sow farms
pending (an) investigation." The company issued a statement, which read, in
Hormel Foods was made aware of an undercover video taken at a Maschhoffs farm.
This farm is a supplier to numerous large food companies, including Hormel
Foods. Animal stewardship, including the care and humane treatment of animals,
is one of our most important values. Hormel Foods has a strict supplier code of
conduct and policies relating to animal care and welfare. We will not tolerate
any violation of these policies. As such, we have issued a suspension of all the
Maschhoffs, LLC, Oklahoma sow operations while a thorough investigation is
Hormel Foods Corporation has also dispatched certified third-party auditors to
these Oklahoma farms and to additional Maschhoffs sites to verify our animal
care requirements are being adhered to. We expect, and have been assured, that
the Maschhoffs, LLC will cooperate with the investigation.
It's not the first time Hormel - a publicly traded company whose brands include
Spam, Jennie-O Turkey Store and Wholly Guacamole - has been linked to an
undercover video. In November 2015, Quality Pork Processors in Minnesota, which
supplies Hormel, disciplined three employees. One was captured on video paddling
pigs and two were shown horse playing with what appeared to be a blood clot or
blood-soaked paper towel.
Gestation crates have been banned in
10 US states and the entire European Union. More than 60 major food providers —
including McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Chipotle, Safeway, Kroger, Costco
and Kmart — have all demanded that their suppliers do away with them.
Hallmark convicted of horrendous
animal cruelty, Chino, CA; Butterball evil; undercover footage
Toronto Pig Save
Furore in Ohio over cruelty to pigs
- July 28, 2007(Op-ed) Martha Rosenberg,
hanging of a sow from a skid loader with a logging chain has divided farming
communities in Northeast Ohio, hog farmers and veterinarians.
Ken Wiles, owner of the 6,000-animal Wiles hog farm near Creston where the
incident occurred last year says he's been "euthanizing" hogs this way for 40
In a trial last month in Wayne County in which he and Dusty Stroud, a hog farm
employee, were found not guilty on all cruelty charges brought--son, Joe Wiles,
was found guilty of improperly handling piglets and fined $250--Wiles told
veterinarian Donald Sander it's the way Utah executes criminals.
But viewers of the video--portions of which were shown on at least one
Cleveland-area television station multiple times--saw a convulsing animal
suffering for a full five minutes in the kind of agony euthanasia is supposed to
stop, not cause.
The Wiles hog farm was raided in November on the basis of undercover footage
shot over more than a year by John Knoldt, (a.k.a. Chris Parrett) an
investigator for the Humane Farming Association who gained employment at Wiles
hog farm after being tipped off to abuses by Ingrid DiMarino, a farm employee.
Also documented by the nonprofit CA-based advocacy group were hogs falling
through broken floor slats into manure pits, being buried alive and killed with
hammers and piglets slaughtered by having their heads bashed against the wall.
Ohio State University veterinarian Donald Sanders who attended the raid and
testified for the prosecution called hanging sows "abhorrent" as did the Ohio
Pork Producers Council.
But swine veterinarian Paul Armbrecht testifying for the defense said hanging
was a "practical method to euthanize an animal."
Of course the public is growing used to exposes of factory farming taped by
undercover employees by now--replete with dead piles, sadistic mutilation and
neglect. Employees at poultry processor House of Raeford in North Carolina which
supplies Arby's and Denny's were recently filmed shoving their fists into birds'
cavities to remove eggs which they threw at each other. And laying hens were
filmed impaled on battery cage wires at Esbenshade Farms in Mt. Joy, PA--events
which Judge Jayne F. Duncan ruled not cruelty in June.
Factory farm operators typically dispute the findings--why weren't the
violations present when inspectors were there?--try to find bad apples and vow
to sin no more, all the while watching their stock price.
But others, like House of Raeford, Esbenshade Farms and Tyson Foods swiftboat
the humane investigators demanding to know why they didn't stop the cruelty if
it was so bad and implying that they staged or even caused the documented
Ken Wiles actually blamed the animals' deprivation of food and water and the
floors and crates caked with urine and fecal material that he is charged with on
the 10 hours his farm was locked down during the raid. He also says investigator John Knoldt was trying to "kill him and his family.)"
But how do you defend a hanging?
Well, the alternative, shooting could be dangerous Earl Miller, a dairy farmer
from Dalton, told the Wooster Daily Record at Wiles' acquittal--because of the
"cement inside the barns" and the risk of bullets ricocheting.
And even if bullets are more humane, "No one likes to hear guns firing 20 times
each day," posts Mary on the Daily Record's Web site.
Besides, the employees on the Wiles hog farm COULDN'T shoot the animals
confesses Ken Wiles--suddenly law abiding--because they are convicted felons and
are not allowed to use weapons! But even these answers don't explain why workers actually taunted the animals
while they were struggling and thought the whole sequence funny.
"One of them goes around and grabs the hog as it's hanging there and hugs it" to
mock an upset employee who was watching says Bob Baker, who filmed the event.
"These poor animals are hanging there suffocating."
Euthanasia means mercy killing but animals need mercy from these "farmers."
Although the criminal trial is over, there is now civil litigation regarding
Wiles Farm. Humane Farming Association (HFA) is also pressing against sanctions
against Dr. Armbrecht and the removal of Judge Miller from the bench.
A documentary premiers on March 16, 2009, on HBO, titled 'Death on a Factory
Farm.’ It covers the undercover investigation of horrifying abuse at Wiles pig
farm and the resulting animal cruelty case. There is a television review, by
Mike Hale, titled "How These Piggies Went to Market." It opens with: "It's not
something you see every day: a large sow hanging by its neck from a forklift,
kicking and swinging through the air until it's dead.”
That scene is
the central image in both the HBO documentary
'Death on a Factory Farm' and the
court case that it chronicles. The fact that these things don't upset everyone
is the crux of the film, representing the American cultural divide.
The Pig Farmer - leaving behind "wrong"
life; Hog Wild; corporate influence; suppliers; criminal charges laid; systemic
abuse on dairy farms, death on a factory farm; Tyson abuses again; fast food
Marc Bekoff: Animal Emotions;
those raised for food treated with egregious cruelty
When animals are treated as commodities their welfare will
always be compromised.