This might not be the best time to release an undercover video of cruelty to Iowa farm animals.


A bill to outlaw such videos, and punish people who make them, remains alive in the Iowa Assembly. Presidential candidates from both parties are showing up in Iowa by the day now. It’s the time when what Iowa wants, Iowa usually gets.

So perhaps this is not the time for a hidden-camera video showing pigs being confined, thrown and mutilated as they make their way to some of the largest grocery chains.

But Mercy for Animals, a national animal rights group, is posting on the Internet a secretly recorded videotape from Iowa Select Farms, a Kamrar facility housing thousands of pigs.

In Mercy for Animals description, the video reveals:

— Sows confined in crates barely larger than their own bodies, and piglets having their testicles ripped out and tails cut off without painkillers.

— Pigs suffering from large, open, pus-filled wounds and pressure sores.

—  Sows – physically taxed from constant birthing – suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses.

— Management training workers to throw piglets across the room – comparing it to a “roller coaster ride.”

“This video depicts scenes of unbearable suffering and inexcusable neglect,” animal behaviorist Dr. Jonathan Balcombe said in a news release. “This farm should be closed down at once.”

“If pork producers threw, mutilated, or cruelly confined puppies or kittens like they do pigs, they could be jailed for animal abuse,” said MFA executive director Nathan Runkle. “It’s high time that the nation’s largest grocery chains took meaningful action to ensure that the animals raised and killed for their stores did not endure lives filled with pain and misery.”

Pork from pigs raised at the factory farm is sold under Swift pork brands to grocery chains Kroger (NYSE:KR), Costco (NASDAQ:COST), Safeway (NYSE:SWY), and Hy-Vee. 

Mercy For Animals is urging the grocery giants to adopt new animal welfare guidelines prohibiting such abuses.

The advocacy group notes that the use of narrow “gestation crates” has already been banned in Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado, California, Maine and Michigan and that some prominent food industry names, including Whole Foods, Chipotle, and Wolfgang Puck, have policies prohibiting pork suppliers from using gestation crates.

Kroger, Costco, Safeway and Hy-Vee reportedly have no animal welfare policies requiring their pork suppliers to phase out the crates.

To view the undercover video, go to