Wednesday, the animal welfare organization Compassion Over Killing released a video showing the inhumane conditions of Hawkeye Sow Centers, a pig breeding facility in Leland, Iowa. Hawkeye Sow Centers is a supplier for Hormel, producer of Spam and other pork products.
The footage was taken in December 2011 by an undercover investigator wearing a hidden camera while working inside the facility. The video shows piglets being mutilated in front of their helpless mothers and rows of female pigs confined to gestation crates.
Gestation crates are small metal cages that confine female pigs so they can be artificially inseminated and kept immobile during and after their pregnancies. The sows are barely able to move, unable to turn around or lay down comfortably. The European Union has recently banned gestation crates. Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Ohio, and Oregon have already banned the use of gestation crates with several other states following suit with pending bills.
The video was released just weeks after Hormel announced they would phase out gestation crates, a policy which will not cover their independent suppliers such as Hawkeye Sow Centers, where a large portion of their pork is obtained. Earlier this week McDonalds issued a statement that they would phase out the use of gestation crates in their United States supply chain.
Compassion Over Killing has started a petition to ask Hormel to put an end to the use of gestation crates and inhumane treatment at all of their suppliers. Please click here to add your name to the petition.