MOTHER JONES: The remarkable thing about Humane Society of the United States’ latest factory farm video exposé is how banal it is. No illegal acts like “downer” animals being forced down the kill line with fork lifts, or getting their brains bashed in with a pickax. What we have here is the everyday reality of pigs’ lives on a factory farm, without regulations flouted or spectacular violence committed. It is abuse routinized and regimented, honed into a profitable business model.
The video looks at two aspects of the dirty business of raising thousands of pigs en masse in close quarters: 1) the way pregnant pigs live as they wait to have their litters; and 2) what happens to baby pigs with they’re weaned after just three days. Neither is for the squeamish. In case you couldn’t watch, the video illustrates the well-known, widespread practice of confining gestating pigs for months on end in 2 foot by 7 foot crates that deny them room to move or even turn around; and the ghastly (though perfectly legal) custom of snipping off baby pigs’ tails without use of painkillers.
A note on videos like this one. Factory animal farms routinely deny journalists and concerned citizens entry to animal factories, citing both proprietary and biohazard concerns. The USDA, which regulates meat production, has shown zero interest in educating the public about the conditions under which they’re meat is raised—much less in improving those conditions. So the few companies that US dominate meat production blithely go about their dirty business behind the cloak of bucolic supermarket labels—that is, they would do so if animal-welfare groups like HSUS didn’t keep sneaking investigators into factory farms posing as job seekers. MORE