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December 17, 2010

Love Pigs? Love Bacon? Love Virginia Ham? Hate Torture? Boycott Smithfield—for now.

Boycott Smithfield until they change.

I myself am vegetarian—but knowing that pigs are smarter than dogs, and equally social, the below (see my highlights, in bold) causes me great sadness.

We can love bacon but hate torture. We can eat meat without supporting such a company with our hard-earned dollars. Via Huffington Post:

RICHMOND, Va. — The Humane Society of the United States…

…released the results of a monthlong undercover investigation at a Waverly, Va., factory farm owned by Murphy-Brown, a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods Inc. Murphy-Brown is Smithfield’s livestock production subsidiary and is the world’s largest producer of pigs for slaughter. The Humane Society called on Smithfield to renew its commitment to phasing out the crates.

Photos and video from the investigation showed about 1,000 large female pigs crammed into metal crates that severely limited their ability to move. The pigs stay in the crates, also called sow stalls, during their four-month pregnancies. Afterward, they are moved for about three weeks to a crate large enough to nurse their piglets before being artificially inseminated and placed back into the gestation crates.

[emphasis mine ~ Ed.]

Seven states have passed laws banning gestation crates, and the European Union is phasing out their use by 2013. However, the crates are legal in Virginia.

“These animals are intelligent, curious and they don’t deserve this type of abuse,” said Paul Shapiro, a spokesman for the Humane Society.

Smithfield is still working to have its farms use group housing arrangements rather than the gestation stalls, said Dennis Treacy, Smithfield’s chief sustainability officer. However, the company wouldn’t say when that transition will be finished.

The announcement comes a week after the Smithfield, Va.-based company reported a record second-quarter profit.

The investigation also found:

_A lame pig was shot in the forehead with a stun gun and thrown into a trash bin while still alive. A video shows the large pig with “kill” spray-painted on its back being dragged by its snout, shot in the head and thrown into a large trash bin while trying to wiggle free, then breathing heavily as it lay dying, surrounded by dead pigs.

_Employees jabbed pigs with gate rods to get them to move.

_Pigs biting their crates – what the organization called a sign of frustration – so hard they bled.

_Pigs with open sores because they couldn’t move in the crates.

_An employee cut a basketball-sized abscess from a pig’s neck with an unsterilized razor.

_Employees threw piglets into carts.

_Some premature piglets fell through the slats of gestation crates into manure pits.

Someone working for the organization got a job at the farm and took the video and photos over the past month.

For the rest, click over to Huff Post.

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