By Joe Wright
While lawmakers in many states rush to outlaw undercover farm videos showing animal cruelty, and prosecute the activists or whistleblowers who bring them forth, one video from Oklahoma made it through. As you will see detailed below, the video shows workers of West Coast Farms kicking, throwing, gouging the eyes of pigs . . . and worse. The video has prompted mega industrial farming company, Tyson Foods, Inc., to take action and cancel their contract.
This is exactly the reason why so-called “Ag-Gag” bills must be opposed. If one isn’t concerned about the welfare of the animals, then one still should be concerned about the health violations that easily could go on undetected if left completely in the dark.
Rather than pretend such atrocities don’t exist, one Duke professor suggested just the opposite approach:
Purdy acknowledges that fairness and safety are real issues. “So is transparency,” he writes, “and that is why we should require confined-feeding operations and slaughterhouses to install webcams at key stages of their operations. List the URLs to the video on the packaging. There would be no need for human intrusion into dangerous sites. No tricky angles or scary edits by activists. Just the visual facts. If the operators felt their work misrepresented, they could add cameras to give an even fuller picture.” (source)
After all, this isn’t the first time that Tyson Foods and its associates have come under fire. This undercover video from 2007 showed the torture of birds destined for KFC. Beyond that, it showed workers urinating on the conveyor belt as birds were headed on for processing. And this is, of course, beyond what is considered by many to already be hellish conditions imposed upon factory animals subjected to lives inside the walls, crates and cages of Tyson’s many farms.
This new video is yet one more piece of evidence that demonstrates why transparency is so vital for animal welfare, and why we have a right to know what goes on behind the closed doors of factory farms that can impact our health. Until factory farms are willing to police themselves and properly investigate their operations, then animal rights activists and insiders should not be prosecuted for documenting these obvious crimes.
The full video transcript is posted below with additional research links:
By Briana Altergott
Tyson Foods has terminated its contract with an Oklahoma pig farm after video was released of workers abusing the animals. We want to warn you, the images are disturbing.
The video, released by animal rights group Mercy For Animals, mostly consists of West Coast Farms employees kicking, hitting and throwing pigs.The more graphic sections show them gouging pigs’ eyes, slamming baby pigs into concrete, and one worker even throws a bowling ball at an animal’s head.NBC, which had obtained the video, showed it to Tyson Foods, and the company immediately cut ties with the farm.
A spokesperson for Tyson said: “We’re extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling. … [We] will take possession of the animals remaining on the farm.” (Via NBC)
The owner of West Coast Farms told the outlet he’s already fired the workers seen in the video. (Via KNWA)
But that might not be enough. Mercy For Animals has called for criminal charges to be filed against the farm.
Animal welfare advocate Temple Grandin compared this incident to the infamous Westland/Hallmark abuse. That case forced the largest meat recall in U.S. history and a $500 million settlement.
- Ag-gag in Action: National Geographic Photographer Arrested After Aerial Photos
- Big Ag Lobbies to Make it Illegal to Secretly Film Animal Abuse (Graphic video)
- Ag-Gag Bills, Property Rights, and Common Sense
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