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Agricultural News

Oklahoma Hog Farm the Focus of Video of Abusive Treatment of Sows and Pigs

Thu, 21 Nov 2013 05:53:44 CST

Oklahoma Hog Farm the Focus of Video of Abusive Treatment of Sows and Pigs
The Animal Activist group Mercy for Animals has released an undercover video that shows animal abuse at an Oklahoma farm in Okfuskee County. The National Pork Producers Council says the actions violate the high standards of the U.S. pork industry.

The Oklahoma Pork Council is in agreement with the NPPC- issuing the following statement on Wednesday- "The undercover video released today shows horrific actions by farm workers that directly violate the Oklahoma pork industry’s ethical principle to protect and promote animal well-being.

"As farmers, the Oklahoma Pork Council (okPORK) condemns all mistreatment of animals. There is no excuse for this behavior.

"okPORK and its producers live by a long-standing set of ethical principles which includes providing compassionate care for our animals. Oklahoma pig farmers are committed to providing for our animals in a manner that protects and promotes their well-being. Our farmers will not defend nor will we accept any mistreatment of animals."

NPPC is calling on state authorities to conduct a thorough investigation and to bring criminal charges against workers who abused animals. NPPC notes providing humane and compassionate care for 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 - and NPPC says abuse is appalling to them.

Mercy for Animals told NPPC that the cruelty was reported to local law enforcement while their investigator was still in the facility. The group says they also met with law enforcement and provided them with full evidence, a legal complaint and expert statements before contacting the media.

As for the company that owns the hogs- Tyson Foods, their spokesman Gary Mickelson told the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network in an email "We’re extremely disappointed by the mistreatment shown in the video and will not tolerate this kind of animal mishandling. We are immediately terminating our contract with this farmer and will take possession of the animals remaining on the farm.

"We’re serious about proper animal handling and expect the farmers who supply us to treat animals with care and to be trained and certified in responsible animal care practices. It’s consistent with our core values to "serve as stewards of the animals…entrusted to us."

Based on conversations that we have had with industry officials, the NBC investigative report and information from Mercy for Animals- here are some key facts about this abuse video.

Mercy for Animals had an undercover volunteer that was hired by West Coast Farms and worked there from at least mid September to mid October. The video was not released until this week to the media- with Mercy for Animals contending that they contacted law enforcement officials well before that.

West Coast Farms is located in Okfuskee County- which is just west of Okmulgee County along I-40 east of Oklahoma City and south and slightly west of Tulsa.

The owner of West Coast Farms is Lonnis Herring, who in a statement contends that the undercover employee never said anything to him about the abuse- that person claims he told Herring three times about the problems.

NBC News reports that Maxey Reilly, Assistant District Attorney in Okfuskee County has talked about the case with Mercy for Animals- and she plans an independent investigation before she brings charges.

There are divided opinions over who might be criminal charges. The employees caught on video are at the top of the list, which also includes owner Lonnie Herring and perhaps even Tyson because they own the sows that were in the video and are on the farm.

In the box below- here is the video we have embeded from NBC News- it's raw footage and it is graphic- and shows actions that are inexcusable.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



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