The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Tricia Barry, Farm Sanctuary, 607-583-2225 ext. 233,

Statement Corroborating Abuse Captured by PETA's Undercover Investigation of Iowa Pig Farm

Pigs rescued from Midwest floods now residing at Farm Sanctuary show signs of systemic abuse throughout pork industry


Farm Sanctuary, the nation's leading farm animal protection
organization, today released a statement in support of the newly
released PETA video exposing animal cruelty at an Iowa pig farm. In
June 2008, Farm Sanctuary and a coalition of animal protection groups
rescued 68 pigs off a levee in southeastern Iowa who were abandoned
after floodwaters ripped through factory farms in the region, drowning
thousands of pigs. Today, those rescued pigs are under the care of Farm
Sanctuary at the organization's Watkins Glen, N.Y. shelter. Having
tended to the care and rehabilitation of these animals for the past 2 1/2
months, Farm Sanctuary has found wounds consistent with abuse captured
on video by PETA's undercover investigator, which indicates that such
abuse is systemic and not isolated.

"Farm Sanctuary thanks PETA for uncovering the daily abuses that pigs
raised for pork endure at the hands of a cruel industry that considers
brutal treatment of sensitive, intelligent animals as business as
usual," said Susie Coston, national shelter director at Farm Sanctuary.
"All of the 68 pigs we rescued showed signs of abuse that went far
beyond the ailments that afflicted the pigs after the floodwaters rose."

Farm Sanctuary's experience caring for the pigs rescued from factory
farms in Iowa, the largest pork producing state, confirm that many of
the abuses captured on video are systemic. These abuses include:

Tail docking
Untreated chronic ailments such as foot abscesses that had turned
septic Old, infected wounds from rubbing against the bars of
2-foot-wide crates Hernias left untreated

Farm Sanctuary has learned from industry research that mutilations like
tail docking and castration are performed throughout the factory
farming industry without analgesics, or pain killers, as was captured
in the PETA video. In the case of the pigs rescued from Iowa, all were
tail docked and nearly all the young males were castrated, with the
exception of one young "teaser" pig, used to prepare the sows for
forced artificial insemination. Many of the Iowa pigs suffer from
hernias that were left untreated and are fairly common to the industry.
In fact, hernia operations, or any medical treatments are rarely
performed on factory farmed pigs.

Most of the sows have chronic ailments that developed as a result of
their confinement in 2-foot-wide gestation crates where they cannot
turn around or lie down comfortably. These sows live in these crates
for their entire 4 month pregnancies, before being moved to a slightly
larger farrowing crate where they give birth and nurse for a period of
two to three weeks until their babies are removed from them to be
raised for slaughter.

"The breeding sows we rescued suffer from multiple ailments caused by
their intensive confinement on factory farms," added Coston. "We've
treated several foot abscesses caused by standing on concrete flooring
and we've treated infected sores on pigs' shoulders caused by rubbing
against the bars of their crates. All of them have broken or missing
front teeth from neurotically biting on the bars of their crates. Many
of these sows were far more terrified of humans than any pigs we've
ever cared for in the past 22 years of Farm Sanctuary's existence. When
they first arrived they would spend entire days rubbing their noses
against their rubber feed bowls or biting on fences. They would also
issue a chilling scream and run away when anyone even tried to touch
them. While these behaviors have ceased with long days outdoors, play
sessions, wallow time in mud holes, and affection from one another and
from people showing them kindness, these pigs will still chew on gates
if they are temporarily restricted to a stall for medical treatment and
they still don't like to be touched on the back."

The practice of piglet thumping, or slamming the smallest and weakest
piglets to the ground, as shown in the PETA video, is not only common,
but industry statistics show that about 10 percent of piglets will have
died within the first two to three weeks of birth and many are killed
by this standard industry practice. To give this percentage some
perspective, approximately 105 million pigs are raised and slaughtered
in the U.S. every year.

Farm Sanctuary has worked to end the use of gestation crates in the
U.S. through its Anti-Confinement Campaign, with building success.
Gestation crates are now outlawed in Florida, Arizona, Oregon and
Colorado. This year, Farm Sanctuary has co-sponsored a ballot
initiative, the YES! on Prop 2 Campaign, in California that would
eliminate gestation crates, as well as veal crates for calves and
battery cages for egg laying hens, in the nation's largest agricultural
state. Iowa farmers have expressed no intention of ending the use of
gestation crates and other forms of cruel confinement for farm animals.
In fact, several large factory farms in Iowa are funneling money into
California to oppose this humane initiative. Farm Sanctuary is urging
the public to take action to counter the abuses endemic to intensive
confinement systems by supporting the YES! on Prop 2 campaign in
California. More information can be found at

Farm Sanctuary fights the disastrous effects of animal agriculture on animals, the environment, social justice, and public health through rescue, education, and advocacy.