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

Via Waylon Lewis
on Dec 17, 2010
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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.


About Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of elephant magazine, now & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat." Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword's Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by "Greatist", Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: "the mindful life" beyond the choir & to all those who didn't know they gave a care. | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, is now available.


17 Responses to “Love Pigs? Love Bacon? Love Virginia Ham? Hate Torture? Boycott Smithfield—for now.”

  1. elephantjournal says:

    Horrible, Ahhh! I became vegetarian for environmental reasons, but stayed vegetarian because of just this. I have a boxer who acts just like a pig and knowing that pigs are smarter than my dog, never want to eat yummy bacon or ham again…I could never eat my dog, so why would I eat a pig (!). ~ Lindsey B.

  2. lisaallthingsvegan says:

    waylon, i love you, i do. BUT one can NOT love bacon and love animals. I know you are trying to do the right thing and spread information about the cruelties in animal agriculture but it is ALL animal agriculture that is cruel- it varies in degree but not in kind. Killing "free, happy, free roaming schmoaming" animals is still killing unncessarily. Please Please Please take a stand on this. Bacon had a mom and there is NO need for any of us to comsume pig's flesh any more.
    I appreciate you wanting to do the right thing and educate your readers. Be a teacher of kindness and compassion and nonviolence and see how many amazing seeds get sprouted because of your leadership . What are you waiting for? We are waiting for you and will support you like you could never imagine. Go (and teach vegan!) for goodness sakes. Love, Lisa

  3. elephantjournal says:

    Actually, most folks I know both love bacon and, if they knew a pig, would love that pig. We humans have a great capacity for mind-effing contradictions.

    I'm trying to get people who eat bacon—who consume Smithfield's products—to boycott such factory farms. That would be a huge step. ~ Waylon

  4. elephantjournal says:

    BTW: thumbs up. I'll go vegan if you become a weekly columnist! ~ W

  5. BrotherRog says:

    This article is a major bummer. My mother is from Virginia and Smithfield hams have long been part of our holiday traditions. Looks like we'll need to find a non-factory farm that can salt cure in that delicious way that Smithfield has with ham.
    Anyone know of any options?

  6. BaconAndPigLover says:

    Hate to say it but I love pigs (I want a pot belly pig as a pet and have since I was a kid) and I do eat bacon. Ashamed, but it's true.

  7. lisaallthingsvegan says:

    hi brother rog(; it is wonderful that you aren't going to support smithfield anymore and that you don't want to support that kind of needless suffering and killing of sentient beings. i wonder if you would consider trying something like lightlife facon bacon strips or tofurky smoked tempeh bacon. even if you don't support smithfield but you still buy bacon from another source, innocent beings are still being killed against their will and we don't need bacon to survive. i used to LOVE bacon and then watched a pig be dragged to her death at a local, free range farm. it changed me forever. that piggy might have had a better life then her sisters and brothers raised at smithfield but she/he still killed before her time and against her will.
    if you ever need help or guidance on how eat more healthfully, sustainably and compassionately please feel free to call on me. thanks for reading!!

  8. lisaallthingsvegan says:

    i'm waiting to hear from my friend, a social pychologist, if taking you up on this challenge is wise or a detrimental move in getting you to ultimately embrace veganism. as soon as i hear back i will let you know (;

  9. Veganrunner says:

    I used to love bacon too. When I realized though, that they are sentient beings with all the wonderful characteristics that my beloved dogs have, I saw what a horrible thing I was contributing to, and what a hypocrite I was. All the killing and suffering is so unnecessary, we don't need to eat animals, in fact, we will be healthier not eating them. Go veg for a month, you'll be amazed at how good you feel and how good you feel about yourself. It just feels right.

  10. elephantjournal says:

    I'm serious about the offer! Even if I were to "fail," that would mean a good deal of dairy and cheese unconsumed..! ~ Waylon

  11. Vanita says:

    I have been a vegetarian for almost 4 years. I always thought it was the right choice for me, but I never wanted to be an evangelist for vegetarianism – until I saw that article.

  12. Nick Cooney says:

    Lisa, assuming I am the social psychologist friend (or one of them), I say definitely do it! Waylon, it's great that you're interested in going vegan and and also interested in having Lisa contribute a weekly column – I'm sure it's something your readers will love! And I bet that once you've been vegan for 30 days, you'll feel about it the same way you feel about vegetarianism now – that's it's pretty easy, and an important thing to keep doing to prevent needless suffering! What better way to help bring happiness to "all beings everywhere," as the Buddha taught? Keep up the great work, and I look forward to reading more of your posts, and Lisa's column!

  13. lisaallthingsvegan says:

    okeedoke, we are on(; what a wonderful way to enter to the new year!! of course feel free to start any time as there is no better time to start then the present moment(; let me know how i can be of service in this impactful, demonstrative decision you are making. because of your status in this community, the seeds you will plant will be far, wide and deep. i can't wait to see how it all unfolds for you, and for all of us. thank you for taking this leap waylon. your decision will save countless lives and prevent immense suffering. what a gift to the world you are offering.
    your pal, lisa

  14. Zia says:

    My boyfriend misses the taste of salty, smokey flesh but he went vegan when he learned about the treatment of animals. So we use our Weber smoker a lot. I make kabobs with chunks of BBQ baked tofu or Gardein "cutlets." Slather with BBQ sauce and pop on the grill. No guilt, no cruelty..and yum.

  15. Danika @ Your Organic Life says:

    I recall reading that they were also linked to the start of the H1N1 virus

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