A video that appears to show pigs being abused at an Oklahoma hog farm has prompted investigations by its owners and the Hormel Food Co., which it supplies. Hormel, makers of Spam, bacon, chili and other products, is looking into the Oklahoma facility, which is owned by The Maschhoffs LLC, large a hog production company headquartered in Carlyle, IL.
In the short video released Tuesday by the Los Angles-based Mercy for Animals, pigs are shown being bashed with a gas canister, picked up by their rear legs, and otherwise abused.
Last May, The Maschhoffs’ hog farms in Nebraska were featured in an undercover video showing abuse. That brought the immediate firing of a farm manager.
This second video to come out in less that a year also sparked reaction of The Maschhoffs.
“We have launched a full-scale investigation in response to this video,” president Bradley Wolter said in a news release Tuesday. “Any animal care deficiencies discovered will be addressed in the quickest manner possible.”
The company said it has taken the following immediate actions as a result of its initial investigation:
- The Maschhoffs zero-tolerance animal care policy will be communicated with all employees and production partners.
- All Oklahoma employees will be retrained on the proper production procedures with respect to the practices that were displayed in the video.
- Every farm manager at The Maschhoffs will be required to review the video and fully understand the responsibility that comes with proper animal care.
“We view animal care as a continuous-improvement process,” Wolter said in the release. “We will continue to make investments to further our animal care standards in the future. Properly caring for our animals is of the utmost importance.”
The Maschhoffs has a zero-tolerance policy for any abuse or mistreatment of its pigs, according to the release. The company is dedicated to achieving high standards of consistent care to ensure the safety and welfare of its animals. Wolter said in the release the company is “committed to supplying the highest-quality, best-cared-for pigs possible to all of its packer customers.”
Hormel suspended the The Maschhoffs’ Nebraska operations after the first video surfaced in May 2016. They were reinstated after Hormel found its animal-care standards were being met. Hormel has now suspended The Maschhoffs’ Oklahoma facilities until the investigation is complete. The Oklahoma hog farms will also see visits from third-party auditors looking out for Hormel’s interests.
The largest family-owned hog producer network in North America, with nearly 218,000 sows at market hog production sites in nine states, The Maschhoffs has about 1,300 employees and about 550 independent farm partners, according to the news release.
In releasing the video on its website, Mercy for Animals said pigs are “confined, mutilated, overcrowded and suffering.”
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