For the second time this month, a radical animal activist group has made charges of animal abuse at a pork operation. Mercy for Animals has released a video tape of an operation in Oklahoma that is part of the Tyson production system. Nathan Runkel with MFA said their investigation showed rampant abuse at the operation, “This was horrific and egregious cruelty that every single worker at this farm was engaged in.” Dave Warner with NPPC was quick to condemn the action at the Oklahoma facility, “The National Pork Producers Council does not condone and, in fact, strongly condemns practices that are not in accord with U.S. pork industry best practices. NPPC calls on Oklahoma authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring criminal charges against workers who abused animals.”
Warner points out, however, that the video had been held for almost a month before being released, “NPPC is concerned, however, that the video was held for more than a month after the abuse occurred before being made public.” At first it was unclear if the video had been provided to law enforcement officials before being released to NBC news, but MFA said local officials had been informed of the abuse before the media was informed.
Tyson has canceled its contract with the Oklahoma operation. “We’re extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling,” said Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for Tyson Foods. “We are immediately terminating our contract with this farmer and will take possession of the animals remaining on the farm.” The owner of the farm said that the video showed “mistreatment” of animals and he had taken action of his own. “I was stunned that anyone could be that callous in their treatment of any animal,” said Lonnie Herring. “After viewing the video, I immediately returned to my farm and terminated the employees seen in the video.”
Runkle said the industry and company response is too little, too late. The NPPC said, “Providing humane and compassionate care for their 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.”
NPPC has called MFA a front group for HSUS and says pork facilities are being targeted as part of a HSUS effort to influence public opinion against pork. The release of this video just a few weeks after another video from a pork production had been widely discredited as being false and inaccurate, does seem extremely coincidental.