January 16, 2018

Piglets Fed to their Mothers at Iron Maiden Hog Farm in KY

The Humane Society has released a disturbing undercover report about conditions at the Iron Maiden Hog Farm in Owensboro, Kentucky. The investigation, which was conducted in early 2014, found that more than 900 piglets died from a diarrheal disease in a two-day period. The piglet’s intestines were ground up and fed back to their mothers and other sows, which is a practice prohibited by state law.

pigsThe Humane Society statement said, “this practice appears to be fairly widespread within the industrial sector of the pig industry.” In addition, Iron Maiden Hog Farm’s practices are harsh and inhumane. HSUS is asking the Kentucky Livestock Care Standards Commission to end gestation crate confinement of pigs and to examine the practice of feeding diseased piglets to surviving pigs.

The investigation documented that the pigs were locked in cages to small, they couldn’t turn around. Piglets were left to die, often suffering for days. sick and injured sows were not cared for. Lame sows were hobbled to keep their legs from splaying so they can stand in their crates. Some sows had hobbles on for so long that the rope cut into their flesh or the flesh had grown over the rope.

Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at HSUS, said in a statement, “the entire atmosphere at this facility is awful for animals, many of whom are perpetually immobilized and suffering from body sores, diarrhea attacks and prolapsed uteruses.” Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of HSUS said, “this industry is long overdue for a major course correction, and we hope this investigation triggers an examination at what’s happening behind closed doors on factory farms.”

These practices are exacerbating the problem of porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, and they can lead to the emergence of this disease in people. Swine flu is just one example of the jump of diseases from animals to humans. And diseased animals can harbor pathogenic bacteria, which in turn can make people sick.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency warned about these problems last week, hypothesizing that since the virus is transmitted through the fecal-oral route, feeding pig intestines to pigs is a bad idea. The disease, which appeared in the U.S. last spring, has killed more than a million pigs in that time period.

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