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Monday Maul: Animal Cruelty and Abuse on a Wyoming Pig Farm

Vin Paneccasio

Video footage from the Humane Society of the United States’ recent undercover investigation of animal abuse, cruelty, and torture at a Wyoming Premium Farms facility in Wheatland, Wyoming, has me mining the depths of depression and restraining impulses fueled by unabated rage. The following is an open letter to Doug DeRouchey, general manager, Wyoming Premium Farms; Mamoru Horio, president, Itoham Foods; Jack Mori, board chairman, Itoham America; Donnie Smith, president and chief executive officer, Tyson Foods; James Lochner, chief operating officer, Tyson Foods; and John Tyson, board chairman, Tyson Foods.

Messrs. DeRouchey, Horio, Mori, Smith, Lochner, and Tyson:

I can’t get the sound of a screaming sow out of my head, and frankly, it’s driving me to madness. Part of me, though, doesn’t want the screaming to stop. Like a concentration camp or plantation soundtrack, it’s something those among us with a conscience need to hear to understand that factory farming perpetuates the darkest evils of the Holocaust and the slave trade.

The images captured by the Humane Society during its undercover investigation at Wyoming Premium Farms is all the evidence many of us need — as if we needed more — that our so-called “developed” nations are populated by two subspecies of Homo sapiens: those who seek financial or spiritual reward through the brutal exploitation, torture, and murder of other species, and those who rail against the same.

The Humane Society’s report, Undercover at a Tyson Supplier: A Humane Society of the United States Investigation, describes horrors that many don’t think (“don’t think” being the operative words) are perpetrated beyond the faraway genocides they hear about in passing. The Humane Society’s findings, though, don’t surprise you, do they? How could they? You are, after all, in the killing business.

I’ll bet you watched the video footage from the Humane Society’s investigation while snacking on fresh bacon. And I think it’s safe to say that the only thing that bothers you about the video footage is that it was made public. A “public-relations disaster” is what greed-heads like you call this sort of thing, isn’t it?

Mr. DeRouchey was quoted in a KUSA report as saying, “We will not tolerate abuse. It’s just, not tolerable. And we’ve had isolated incidents in the past — and we’ve terminated the people.”

The Humane Society’s video footage documents nothing less than a culture of abuse, which Mr. DeRouchey prefers to describe as “isolated incidents,” involving several employees during the month of April 2012.

“There’s probably possible major abuse, and that’s a termination,” DeRouchey told KUSA, which reported that DeRouchey “says he can’t guarantee everybody in the video will be fired. He says an investigation is underway to figure out what exactly happened.”

“I just can’t jump on what I’ve seen on 4 minutes on a video. I wasn’t there,” DeRouchey explained to KUSA reporters.

Well, Mr. DeRouchey, I can “jump on what I’ve seen on four minutes on a video,” and “I wasn’t there” either.

Tyson Foods’ “response” to the Humane Society’s investigation matter-of-factly indicates that “contrary to the impression left by HSUS, there is no connection between this Wyoming farm and the pork that we process. Tyson Foods does not buy any of the hogs raised on this farm for our pork processing plants. We do have a small, but separate hog buying business that has previously purchased aged sows from this farm; however, these animals are subsequently sold to other companies and are not used in Tyson’s pork processing business. The subsidiary has discontinued buying sows from the farm shown in the video.”

So much for “no connection,” eh? Tyson Foods’ “response” is, in fact, very much a confirmation of the company’s “connection” to Wyoming Premium Farms.

Messrs. Smith, Lochner, and Tyson would like us to appreciate their company’s “position point” on “animal well-being,” which is that “Tyson Foods has long been committed to animal well-being and has had formal programs in place for some time. We believe proper animal handling is an important moral and ethical obligation we owe to our suppliers, customers, ourselves and, most of all, to the animals we depend on for our products and our livelihood. … Animal well-being is part of Tyson’s Core Values, which call on the company’s Team Members to ‘serve as stewards of the animals, land and environment entrusted to us.’”

The problem with this “position,” Messrs. Smith, Lochner, and Tyson, is that one cannot be in the business of slaughtering animals while claiming to be “committed” to their “well-being.”

But this is not news to you, is it? Nor is it news to Mr. DeRouchey or his superiors at Itoham Foods, whose U.S. subsidiary, Itoham America, conveniently “filed an article of dissolution with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office” on April 6, according to the KUSA report — and whose 2010 annual report boasted the insulting headline Full of Smiles.

Well, gentlemen, the pigs in the Humane Society’s video are not smiling. They’re screaming in pain.

And I’m not smiling either, nor are many others who feel empathy for the animals for whom you feel nothing.

An msnbc.com report indicates that “Steve Keigley, sheriff for Platte County, where the farm is located, told msnbc.com that an investigation is under way and being led by the livestock board. The Humane Society provided ‘quite a bit of documentation,’ he said, adding that any charges would probably amount to a ‘high misdemeanor’ with a maximum of several months in county jail and a fine.”

I think that you, Messrs. DeRouchey, Horio, Mori, Smith, Lochner, and Tyson, should each be sentenced to “several months” in a gestation crate. And I think the subhumans at Wyoming Premium Farms whom the Humane Society filmed brutalizing terrified and long-suffering sows and piglets should be treated the very same way and fed, upon their deaths, to pigs liberated from your factory farms.

The Monday Maul cartoon was created for The Daily Maul by New York-based artist Vin Paneccasio.

5 Comments

  1. brian rafferty wrote:

    thanks to David Brensiler for printing
    what everyone with a soul and human compassion
    feels toward Wyoming Premium Farms.
    Maybe you could print his address and phone
    number so people can call him 24hrs a day.
    or pay him a visit in a dark alley.

    regards/ Brian

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 12:18 am | Permalink
  2. David Brensilver wrote:

    Brian,

    I encourage you to call or write to those connected to Wyoming Premium Farms.

    David

    Tuesday, May 15, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink
  3. Moon Chylde wrote:

    I am grateful to you for speaking out for those of us who are still too choked up to speak. The video was worse than any bloody psycho killer movie I’ve ever had the misfortune to view, and yet, I find myself with a roiling mix of emotions filling my gut. I cried from guilt that I (all of us) have allowed this atrocity to go on, for how can we fool ourselves into believing that this is an isolated incident??? As you said to the less-than-illustrious leadership at Wyoming Premium Farms, “…one cannot be in the business of slaughtering animals while claiming to be “committed” to their “well-being.”” I don’t want to be labeled a hypocrite, as I have always been a meat eater. I’ve tried vegetarianism and it does not sustain me effectively. HOWEVER, I was raised in farming country and have known many farmers throughout my lifetime, and there is one thing that was NEVER missing on one of those farms …respect for the animals who dwelt there. Even though many were raised for food, their comfort and health were valued, and vets came out to keep a close eye on the lot throughout their lifetimes. When slaughtering time came ’round at last, the animal was killed quickly and efficiently, and thanks was always given for their sacrifice. There was usually a measure of sadness as well, for one learns to appreciate animals as individuals over time, but I’m sure that is no less than an alien concept to WPF workers. TORTURE is for barbarians, for the certifiably insane sociopathic serial killers we read about or dream about in our nightmares as we run screaming into the dark unknown while being chased by a drooling maniac carrying a bloody meat cleaver whose intent is to split our skull and eat our brain…in raw handfulls while smearing our blood on his face and chest like war paint. I’m sickened by so many things our world has become, and believe me, as I point one finger toward WPF I know there are three fingers pointed back at me requiring me so do self-examination every single day, to keep myself from sitting idly by while the world continues to deteriorate. If we do not act as our conscience leads us, doesn’t that make us even worse than those conscience-lacking madmen who seem to enjoy hurting defenseless pigs??? I fear it might. How an we contact the right people at WPF, and how to we fight this effectively? THANK you for your voice, now tell us how we can back you up with ours. This is atrocious behavior and should be made an example of to the rest of the industry. ~A concerned citizen

    Wednesday, June 6, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  4. David Brensilver wrote:

    Moon Chylde,

    I encourage you to share your thoughts with the good folks at Mercy for Animals. And I thank you for expressing yourself here.

    David

    Saturday, June 9, 2012 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  5. Marnie Shaw wrote:

    The video footage was not attached here and I am not sorry that I am not seeing it. My imagination is bad enough.

    Monday, April 15, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

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