Animal activist group Mercy for Animals has released a new undercover video that raised questions about animal handling practices at a Minnesota hog farm, but a panel of animal care experts who reviewed the video concluded the animals were generally well cared for.
The footage shows sows in gestation stalls, workers euthanizing piglets by striking their heads against a concrete floor, and workers castrating piglets and cutting their tails off, among other images.
The video is narrated by Bob Barker, former host of “The Price Is Right.”
In a statement, a panel of experts established by the Center for Food Integrity addressed the practices and images depicted in the four-minute video point by point, noting that while some conditions and practices could be improved, the animals were not abused.
“Overall, these animals were well taken care of.
There were no signs of animal cruelty, abuse or neglect,” an unidentified panel member said in the statement.
Members of the panel were Dr. Janeen Salak-Johnson, University of Illinois; Dr. Candace Croney, Purdue University; and Dr. John Deen, University of Minnesota.
The video was shot at a facility owned by Christensen Farms and Feedlots Inc. of Sleepy Eye, Minnesota.
“We have reviewed the video and have noted no exceptions to our company procedures or industry standards," the company said in a statement on its web site.
Mercy for Animals identified Christensen Farms as a Walmart supplier.
Walmart representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“The video released today does not show abuse of animals,” the National Pork Producers Council said in a news release.
The National Pork Board said pork producers are always seeking to improve animal husbandry practices.
"Christensen Farms has always exemplified that commitment and we support their efforts to further investigate this video to ensure the farm's employees and practices remain at the standards we all expect," said Conley Nelson, a farmer and pig production executive from Algona, Iowa, who is president of the National Pork Board, said in a news release.
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