A piglet at Iowa Select Farms’ Kamrar, IA facility. Photo courtesy of Mercy for Animals
Three years ago, floodwaters engulfed Iowa and swept hundreds of pigs down the Mississsippi River, sparking a rescue effort that moved over 60 survivors to new lives on sanctuaries. When Iowa’s levees burst again last week, its pigs took the national spotlight once more to tell a different story.
A hard-to-watch undercover video from the Chicago- based group Mercy for Animals (MFA) was released on June 29, showing live piglets getting sliced, slammed and thrown across a building in a small Iowa town.
A former Iowa Pork Princess became its unwitting star, by assuring the undercover camerawoman that “pigs are very bouncy,” and then describing their flights through the air as “a rollercoaster ride for piglets.”
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Farmers and animal advocates will give Cincinnatians plenty to chew on in the coming week, during two public discussions of Ohio’s proposed farm animal cruelty prevention bill. By requiring that pigs, chickens, and veal calves have enough space to stretch their limbs, the bill would require the state’s industrial mega-farms to operate more like the small, traditional animal farms which they have squeezed to a small corner of their market. Aimed at protecting animals, the bill would likely reduce the competitive disadvantage at which these small farms find themselves. In the long run, farmers and “slow food” enthusiasts hope it might keep small-scale farming viable for younger generations.
Gene Baur, president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary, will speak Saturday afternoon about his work and Ohio’s bill.