DENVER (CBS4) – There’s been powerful reaction to a video from a Colorado pig farm that was released by an animal rights group that says it shows “shocking treatment” of suffering animals, but the farm and pork producers insist the animals are not suffering.
Each day this summer an undercover investigator would drive to the Seaboards Farm in Yuma with a hidden camera. The person was employed raising pigs, but was also secretly working for Mercy for Animals.
“These intelligent animals literally lose their minds and suffer from painful pressure sores,” Matt Rice with Mercy for Animals said at a news conference.
The video shows what appears to be pigs being struck and their tails being cut off. But the company running the farm said it follows best practices determined by animal care experts, adding, “We are committed to doing what is best for the animals and the safety of our food.”
The pork produced at Seaboards Farm is sold at Walmart stores under the brand Prairie Fresh.
Mercy for Animals has actor Joaquin Phoenix urging customers to pressure the retailer about the animals’ conditions.
“They can’t even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives,” Phoenix says in the video.
Seaboard counters by saying the pictures may seem uncomfortable to those who don’t spend their days with animals, but they follow veterinarian-developed animal care.
In the meantime what’s called “gestation crates” are on the way out at the farm.
“Confining pigs in gestation crates is considered so cruel it’s been banned in nine U.S. states, including here in Colorado,” Rice said.
It’s now being phased out by 2018 in Colorado.
Walmart issued a statement noting it offers “gestation stall-free pork if customers choose … we hold all of our suppliers to the highest standards and do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals.”
The National Pork Producers Council, a trade group, told CBS4 it has reviewed the video and there appears to be no signs of animal abuse.