A lot of us eat pork without actually thinking about what goes into that process. A video of one Oklahoma pig farm — independent but affiliated with Tyson Foods — and its treatment of its pigs might make you rethink the way you view pork. Warning: This is graphic.
The video, shot by animal advocacy group Mercy for Animals, resulted in Tyson severing ties with the farm…once the video hit the public.
Redditor legless_kraig allegedly worked in a pig farm and sheds some light about how this farm is similar — and different — to many others in the food industry:
“As someone who used to work in a hog barn, a lot of what you saw in the video does happen, unfortunately. These guys are way too abusive though. I’m not sure what their beef is with the pigs but handling them like that isn’t normally accepted.
What does happen in pretty much every barn is that yes, the sows are confined to small crates to birth their piglets and feed them and help them until they about the size you see them in the video (where they are then sent to a nursery barn to grow a bit more) and the sows are moved to the back of the barn to be bred once they are in heat again to begin the cycle anew. It’s not a wonderful life they live. Once their litters begin getting too small (usually when they are older) they (the sows) are shipped to slaughterhouse.
“Clipping the tails is done with a hot iron blade clipper and that’s done so when they are older and larger their tails aren’t bitten and chewed off by the other pigs around them when they are placed in pens. The testicles are pulled through small incisions and thrown off to the side in the crates where they either fall through the grating into the pit or are eaten. The whole reasoning behind that (the castration not the testicle eating) is that it helps them fatten quicker and makes them easier to handle when they are growing. Or so I was told…
“Piglets are killed by having their heads smashed against the concrete because it’s quick and if done properly (which those guys aren’t doing) the piglets are dead before they even know what happened. By far my least favorite part of the job… Usually it’s done if they are sick or infirm but the ones in the video seemed fine to me so not sure what’s the deal there.
Sows that are either too large or tired to move should not be kicked around or they’ll die from stress. Those guys obviously didn’t care. Pulling by the ears to get them to move somewhere specific was common and kicking in the back end was too but realistically the pigs feel nothing from the kicking. They hardly feel the punches. I’ve had a co-worker break his hand when he punched a pig in the skull. He cried out and ran off screaming in pain while the pig grunted and laid down calmly. Slamming those boards or tossing a bowling ball (wtf) however will be felt and was something I’ve seen people get fired over. (Never seen a bowling ball though) It should be a harsher punishment in my mind but that’s how it is…
“Gouging of the eyes was something that was done to the adult pigs when they weren’t moving down the aisles or being stubborn and hard to handle. I never did it myself but I’ve seen it done and as effective as it is I’ve always felt that it was overkill. What I didn’t see in the video, and what I don’t think any of those guys need, is a cattle prod. I’ve seen that used quite often when moving the pigs up the ramp and into the truck. Usually all it took was a little poke but I’ve seen people go overboard and just ram the thing into the pig’s sides or back or anus and just hold that button down for far too long.”
I’ve normally got a strong stomach for this sort of thing but, honestly, there’s a special place in hell for people who treat animals this inhumanely. It’s sociopathic and these people deserve every bad thing coming their way.