Pigs at the Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland, Wyoming -- which supplies such industry giants as Tyson Foods -- were subjected to beating, kicking being punched in the face and piglets being tossed high into the air by their legs in an undercover investigation secretly videotaped by an employee of The Humane Society of the United States.
The video and information provided to law enforcement documented rampant animal abuse at Wyoming Premium and showed workers kicking live piglets like soccer balls, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs, striking mother pigs with their fists and repeatedly and forcefully kicking them as they resisted leaving their young.
The sadistic abusers are nine former Wyoming farm workers and two managers who were charged with animal cruelty on December 24 by the Wyoming Livestock Board and the Platte County Attorney's Office, following an HSUS undercover investigation which began in April 2012.
The graphic footage shows sows and small piglets living in deplorable condition and wallowing in manure. A bearded worker taking his anger out on a sick-looking mother pig, shouts: 'You want to f*** with me today? I'm in no f***ing mood!' before punching it.
At one point in the video, a severely obese worker hits and kicks a female pig with a broken leg before bouncing her weight onto the injury and yelling at her to “get up” as the suffering animal lets out a blood-curdling squeal.
'I am sickened and outraged by what I've seen, and any right-thinking person will have the same reaction,' says HSUS president and chief executive Wayne Pacelle.
The undercover investigator also found pregnant pigs with untreated abscesses and severe rectal and uterine prolapses, mummified piglet corpses, and baby piglets who had fallen through floor slats to either hang to death or drown in manure pits.
Male pigs, recently castrated, are shown in bloody, filthy conditions.
All nine suspects have been reportedly fired from the farm. Their first court appearance is scheduled for January 18, 2013. An animal cruelty conviction in Wyoming carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.
'I think that (the citations) will send a strong message to people that cruelty to animals won’t be tolerated, even if they are animals in the food chain,' Adam Parascandola, director of animal cruelty response for HSUS, told the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. “They deserve not to suffer fear and torment until that point.'
‘We do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals by any of our suppliers,’ Tyson Foods spokesman Worth Sparkman said via email Monday.
CALL FOR THE END OF CRUEL GESTATION CRATES
While applauding the effort of Wyoming law-enforcement agencies, the meat and restaurant industry is urged by HSUS to demand stronger industry-wide protocols throughout their supply chains to deter and eliminate animal abuse.
The call for reform specifically addresses the use of cruel gestation crates. The investigation shows the misery endured by breeding pigs, who are confined day-and-night in small, metal cages which virtually immobilize the animals for nearly their entire lives.
Veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, animal scientists, consumers, and scores of compassionate citizens have come out against this cruel practice; states HSUS, and it is time for Tyson, and other companies and pork-industry trade associations to develop plans to get these inhumane cages out of their operations.
“The shocking abuse at this facility shows why so many Americans are calling for reforms in the pork industry,” states Wayne Pacelle.
*** WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
VIDEO (HSUS): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNY4Fjsdft4 (4.01 MIN)