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A Year After This Pig Farm Abuse, No Charges Filed!

By       Message Martha Rosenberg       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink

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The cruelty against pigs videotaped at West Coast Farms in Oklahoma last year was so sickening Tyson Foods immediately dropped the supplier. The National Pork Producers Council demanded that authorities "bring criminal charges against workers who abused animals." Yet a year later, workers have apparently not been charged and may have fled town as the Creek County District Attorney's office drags its feet.

Video shot at the West Coast Farms in Okfuskee County by an undercover worker for Mercy For Animals last year "shows pigs being kicked, hit, and thrown, as well as pigs being slammed into the floor to kill them," said NBC news. "On three separate occasions, I reported abuse to the owner," said the undercover worker but "After each report, the abuse continued by workers, and all of the workers I questioned told me that that owner had not spoken to them recently about animal handling."

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When confronted with footage from West Coast Farms, Tyson spokesman Gary Mickelson said, "We're extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling" and that Tyson is immediately "terminating our contract with this farmer and will take possession of the animals remaining on the farm."

The National Pork Producers Council said "providing humane and compassionate care for pigs at every stage of life is one of the ethical principles to which U.S. pork producers adhere. U.S. pork producers are committed to caring for animals in a way that protects their well-being. Just as it is to others, abuse of animals is appalling to pork producers. Farmers do not defend and will not accept abuse of animals."

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Pigs are stacked like parked cars on factory farms
(Image by Martha Rosenberg)
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Yet, when I recently asked Assistant Creek County District Attorney Glen Hickerson if any of the suspects were interviewed and if he knew if they were still in town, he answered, "I recently received additional information from the Okfuskee County Sheriff's Office which spurred my request for some additional information," in an email. "I will not be able to comment or be in a position to make a filing decision until I have received all the information requested."

Many ask what the District Attorney's office is waiting for

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In a 25-page affidavit hand-delivered to Max Cook, the District Attorney for Okfuskee County a year ago, six employees were identified in specific acts by the undercover worker who had worked at West Coast Farms.

An employee called Faustino allegedly struck a non-ambulatory sow with a "wooden sorting board" to try to make her walk. Jose Manuel Martinez was documented allegedly gouging a sow's eyes with his fingers, bashing many piglets and throwing a bowling ball at a sow's head while laughing. An employee known as Armando allegedly "spiked" piglets to the ground like they were footballs from four feet away before killing them. Maria Martin allegedly ignored a dying downer piglet pathetically twitching for over three hours. Piglets she allegedly slammed against the wall to "kill" were still kicking and breathing afterwards and when told about one survivor, she allegedly smiled.

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)
 

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