Five Guilty Verdicts for Pig Farm Cruelty12 April 2013
US - Five employees from Wyoming Premium Farms have each been convicted on multiple counts of cruelty to animals after a Humane Society of the United States undercover investigation documented acts of animal abuse.
According to Wyoming Business Report, the five convicted workers are: Patrick Ruckavina, Richard Pritekel, Edward Pritekel, Kali Oseland and David Bienz.
A total of nine employees were charged in late December. All were terminated from their jobs at the farm by the time charges were filed.
In addition to the five convictions, according to a deputy clerk at Platte County Circuit Court, three cases - against Kyla Adams, Jarrod Juarez and Steve Perry - are still pending. Shawn Colson, the former assistant manager of the farm who faced seven counts of animal cruelty, is currently considering a deal offered by the court.
The abuse, which was captured on video and became a sensation on YouTube last May, led to food giant Tyson Foods severing its relationship with the farm.
The investigation documented Wyoming Premium workers kicking live piglets like soccer balls, swinging sick piglets in circles by their hind legs, striking mother pigs with their fists and repeatedly and forcefully kicking them as they resisted leaving their young, among other abuses.
"All animals deserve humane treatment, including animals raised for food," Jonathan Lovvorn, senior vice president of animal protection litigation at The Humane Society of the United States told the newspaper. "We are grateful to law enforcement officials for pursuing charges in this case, and we hope that these convictions will deter further abuse of animals on industrial factory farms."
Wyoming Business Report adds that, in addition to the individual acts of abuse which led to criminal charges, The HSUS investigation also found breeding pigs confined day-and-night in gestation crates, tiny cages that virtually immobilise animals. Gestation crates have come under fire by McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, Costco, Safeway, Kroger, Oscar Mayer, Jimmy Dean, Sysco and other nearly 50 other leading food companies, as well as from veterinarians, farmers, animal welfare advocates, scientists, consumers and others.
ThePigSite News Desk