I recently wrote A Tale of Two Pigs which described how each fared living on two different pig farms. Sadly, I think I can safely say, that most mother pigs are not raised humanely or with compassion.
This time I read in a Mercy for Animals Magazine (Spring 2017) about the cruelty suffered by piglets at Hormel. Though it was evident that mother pigs generally suffered in most farm settings, I was horrified to read that their babies were not spared cruelty and suffering.
The first paragraph gave me a sense of the horror that these poor animals endured:
"Crammed into a narrow factory farm hallway, dozens of frightened piglets scrambled to dodge factory worker's brutal kicks. Only weeks old, the piglets climbed on top of each other to avoid being trampled. They squealed and thrashed into each other and into the walls. Most of them likely didn't even know what they were trying to escape, but they knew they had to run."
I continued to read--knowing full well that I would read more of the unspeakable horrors these little animal babies would be subjected to. At this pig factory farm owned by the Maschhoffs, one of the largest U.S. pork producers and suppliers to Hormel Foods, Mercy for Animals investigators soon found out what baby pigs there had to endure from the day they are born.
Two pictures clearly revealed the horror involved. One showed a woman worker holding a piglet upside down with his legs spread eagled. The piglet kicked, shrieked, and squirmed as she made two incisions in his groin with a small blade. As I read this, I could only wonder how any one--especially a woman--could perform this cruel procedure on a baby pig. There was no anesthesia or pain relief given to the piglet as she pulled out his testicles. Isn't this barbaric and cruel?
But there was more. A worker clipped off the piglet's sensitive tail before throwing him back into a hard metal stall where other traumatized piglets huddled together, bloodied, and in great pain. This is one of the reasons I thank God every day that I am vegan. I could not live with myself knowing that I was responsible for this suffering because of an imagined meat lust.
The good news is that because of MFA's hard-fought campaigns, both Walmart and Nestle have required their suppliers to end these tortuous mutilations. But sadly, Hormel continues to allow these forms of animal abuse at its contract supplier farms.