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Undercover at Smithfield Foods (2012 Webby Award Winner)

November 4, 2019


What we found were extraordinarily inhumane
conditions at Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the entire world. I still remember the first time I ever laid
eyes on a gestation crate facility and seeing the helplessness of these animals who have
done nothing to deserve the fate that they’re enduring, suffering inside of these crates
is just absolutely devastating. The Humane Society of the United States has
investigated one of Smithfield’s breeding operations. This facility represents what gestation crate
confinement is — open wounds, pressure sores, infections, bleeding gums from biting the
bars so much and these animals aren’t even being cared for with individualized veterinary
attention. Regardless of how the system is managed, these
pigs are barely able to move even an inch their entire lives. They’re unable to walk
around, to turn around causes them to quite literally go insane. This is one of the reasons why so many animal
scientists and veterinarians have condemned this extreme confinement practice. Smithfield about I would say two weeks ago,
two – three weeks ago, made an announcement that we had made a decision to phase out the
use of sow gestations crates in all of our company owned farms over a 10- year period. Smithfield committed publicly to phasing out
gestation crates within a 10-year period, receiving a lot of praise for doing so. Now
just a couple years later the company is saying that they no longer can meet its own very
generous, self-imposed deadline. That’s completely unacceptable. Many other pork companies such as let’s say
Maxwell Foods, which is one of the biggest pork producers in the country, is already
100 percent gestation crate free. Cargill another major pork producer is already 50
percent gestation crate free. The American Farm Bureau, the primary agri-business
lobby in the United States funded a poll in which they found an overwhelming majority
of Americans find gestation crates to be inhumane. This is one of the reasons why seven states
in the country have already banned this practice, why all 27-member nations of the EU [European
Union] have banned the practice. Gestation crates are a practice of the past,
not of the future and Smithfield outta be speeding up that trend rather than slowing
it down.

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