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The FBI’s Hunt for Two Missing Piglets Reveals the Federal Cover-Up of Barbaric Factory Farms

December 18, 2017
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Smithfield-Circle-Four-Farms-piglets-pigs-factory-pig-aminal-cruelty-abuse-05-1506966739

Piles of dead and rotting piglets are piled up behind a sow, who is wedged into a crate so tightly that she cannot move away from the mess at Smithfield-owned Circle Four Farm in Utah.
 Photo: Wayne Hsiung/DxE

Source The Intercept
By Glenn Greenwald

This article includes graphic images some readers may find disturbing.

FBI AGENTS ARE devoting substantial resources to a multistate hunt for two baby piglets that the bureau believes are named Lucy and Ethel. The two piglets were removed over the summer from the Circle Four Farm in Utah by animal rights activists who had entered the Smithfield Foods-owned factory farm to film the brutal, torturous conditions in which the pigs are bred in order to be slaughtered.

While filming the conditions at the Smithfield facility, activists saw the two ailing baby piglets laying on the ground, visibly ill and near death, surrounded by the rotting corpses of dead piglets. “One was swollen and barely able to stand; the other had been trampled and was covered in blood,” said Wayne Hsiung of Direct Action Everywhere (DxE), which filmed the facility and performed the rescue. Due to various illnesses, he said, the piglets were unable to eat or digest food and were thus a fraction of the normal weight for piglets their age.

Rather than leave the two piglets at Circle Four Farm to wait for an imminent and painful death, the DxE activists decided to rescue them. They carried them out of the pens where they had been suffering and took them to an animal sanctuary to be treated and nursed back to health.

This single Smithfield Foods farm breeds and then slaughters more than 1 million pigs each year. One of the odd aspects of animal mistreatment in the U.S. is that species regarded as more intelligent and emotionally complex — dogs, dolphins, cats, primates — generally receive more public concern and more legal protection. Yet pigs – among the planet’s most intelligent, social, and emotionally complicated species, capable of great joy, play, love, connection, suffering and pain, at least on a par with dogs — receive almost no protections, and are subject to savage systematic abuse by U.S. factory farms.

At Smithfield, like most industrial pig farms, the abuse and torture primarily comes not from rogue employees violating company procedures. Instead, the cruelty is inherent in the procedures themselves. One of the most heinous industry-wide practices is one that DxE activists encountered in abundance at Circle Four: gestational crating.

Where that technique is used, pigs are placed in a crate made of iron bars that is the exact length and width of their bodies, so they can do nothing for their entire lives but stand on a concrete floor, never turn around, never see any outdoors, never even see their tails, never move more than an inch. That was the condition in which the activists found the rotting piglet corpses and the two ailing piglets they rescued.

Female pigs give birth in this condition. They are put in so-called farrowing crates when they give birth, and their piglets run underneath them to suckle and are often trampled to death. The sows are bred repeatedly this way until their fertility declines, at which point they are slaughtered and turned into meat.

The pigs are so desperate to get out of their crates that they often spend weeks trying to bite through the iron bars until their gums gush blood, bash their heads against the walls, and suffer a disease in which their organs end up mangled in the wrong places, from the sheer physical trauma of trying to escape from a tiny space or from acute anxiety (called “organ torsion”).

So cruel is the practice that in 2014, Canada effectively banned its usage, as the European Union had done two years earlier. Nine U.S. states, most of which host very few farms, have banned gestational crating (in 2014, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, with his eye on the GOP primary in farm-friendly Iowa, vetoed a bill that would have made his state the 10th).

But in the U.S. states where factory farms actually thrive, these devices continue to be widely used, which means a vast majority of pigs in the U.S. are subjected to them. The suffering, pain, and death these crates routinely cause were in ample evidence at Smithfield Foods, as accounts, photos, and videos from DxE demonstrate.

FBI raids animal sanctuaries

Under normal circumstances, a large industrial farming company such as Smithfield Foods would never notice that two sick piglets of the millions it breeds and then slaughters were missing. Nor would they care: A sick and dying piglet has no commercial value to them.

Yet the rescue of these two particular piglets has literally become a federal case — by all appearances, a matter of great importance to the Department of Justice. On the last day of August, a six-car armada of FBI agents in bulletproof vests, armed with search warrants, descended upon two small shelters for abandoned farm animals: Ching Farm Rescue in Riverton, Utah, and Luvin Arms in Erie, Colorado.

These sanctuaries have no connection to DxE or any other rescue groups. They simply serve as a shelter for sick, abandoned, or otherwise injured animals. Run by a small staff and a team of animal-loving volunteers, they are open to the public to teach about farm animals.

The attachments to the search warrants specified that the FBI agents could take “DNA samples (blood, hair follicles or ear clippings) to be seized from swine with the following characteristics: I. Pink/white coloring; II. Docked tails; III. Approximately 5 to 9 months in age; IV. Any swine with a hole in right ear.”

Please read rest HERE







one day the spacemen
saw earth and decided
it would be grand
to perhaps get closer
and/or even land.
they looked down
at our petty, cruel and
quarrelsome populace
and thought why ever
would anyone want
to visit this place.
then closer they looked
they saw a few
who really cared.
and then then knew,
that there was hope
between the pockets
of despair,
and off they went,
back up in the air.

Karen Lyons Kalmenson


8 Comments leave one →
  1. karenlyonskalmenson permalink
    December 18, 2017 7:28 am

    one day the spacemen
    saw earth and decided
    it would be grand
    to perhaps get closer
    and/or even land.
    they looked down
    at our petty, cruel and
    quarrelsome populace
    and thought why ever
    would anyone want
    to visit this place.
    then closer they looked
    they saw a few
    who really cared.
    and then then knew,
    that there was hope
    between the pockets
    of despair,
    and off they went,
    back up in the air.

    Liked by 1 person

    • December 18, 2017 9:44 am

      It’s absolutely gorgeous. Thank you so much, hon, for such a compelling and true piece, I love it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • karenlyonskalmenson permalink
        December 18, 2017 9:51 am

        Thank you so much 🌹

        Like

  2. December 18, 2017 11:22 am

    What a sick world we live in when folk who rescue suffering animals from abuse and neglect are the ones targeted as criminals😡

    Liked by 1 person

  3. veg4life permalink
    February 4, 2018 8:31 am

    The fact that the masses have not yet awoke to this tragic hidden suffering is nothing short of an abomination. Praying for hope and change to come soon 💜🤞

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 5, 2018 11:43 am

      It baffles me that people don’t “think”. Although it is hidden, it isn’t as well – where do people think this “meal (death)” comes from? Living, feeling, breathing, sentient beings. It’s way too convenient to think any deeper about it. Thanks, I completely agree.

      Like

  4. veg4life permalink
    February 4, 2018 8:31 am

    Reblogged this on AwarenessHelps.com.

    Liked by 1 person

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