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IPPA: Animal Abuse Cannot Be Tolerated, MowMar Farm Statement

by 5m Editor
19 September 2008, at 8:41am

IOWA - The Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA) says the pork industry cannot tolerate animal abuse of any kind and strongly condemns the acts depicted in a disturbing video released this week. The farm at the centre of PETA's allegations has made an official statement.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) released the video depicting animal abuse by workers at a pig farm near Bayard. After receiving a tip about the abuse from someone inside the farm, PETA sent two people undercover to the operation, which was owned by Natural Pork Production II LLP until Aug. 18 and then sold to MowMar LLP. PETA representatives remained undercover on the farm for over three months, the group said in a statement accompanying the video on its web site.

The video shows people hitting hogs with metal rods and kicking the animals. It shows a sow that has had its head spray painted. The people in the video also make several disparaging remarks about hogs and working with them. Other incidents that are generally accepted practices in the pork industry also are depicted in the video, but are deemed abuse by PETA.


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"Anyone that has employees needs to make sure they’re providing all of the proper training for employees and make sure the employees know what’s expected of them in terms of animal handling."
Dave Moody, IPPA President

Livestock farmers and many others have reacted with anger and dismay to the events shown in the video. Iowa pork producers have called and e-mailed IPPA to express their concern about the abuse shown.

“The sow handling [depicted in the video] is not acceptable,” said IPPA President Dave Moody, a pork producer from Nevada. “There’s just no way we can accept anything of that nature and it needs to be dealt with immediately.”

MowMar officials met with PETA representatives in Clive yesterday to discuss the video and the corrective actions being taken, according to a MowMar statement. MowMar says it had launched a thorough investigation of the incident and “employees who committed animal cruelty violations have been and will be terminated.”

Several other corrective actions are being taken by MowMar and the company says the effectiveness of video monitoring equipment is being researched as a tool to oversee all aspects of herd care.

The Greene County Sheriff’s Department is now conducting an investigation of the incidents that took place at the farm.

IPPA says it’s important that we remind the public these practices are not typical of pork production and our producers are committed to care for animals in a way that protects their well-being.

The association encourages all producers to implement on-farm animal husbandry and well-being training as it relates to animal handling and proper euthanasia of animals for all employees. All farm employees are strongly encouraged to be certified in Pork Quality Assurance Plus®. PQA Plus and Transport Quality Assurance® are programs that help ensure employees are trained on how to properly care for animals and can prevent similar events from occurring in the future.

“Anyone that has employees needs to make sure they’re providing all of the proper training for employees and make sure the employees know what’s expected of them in terms of animal handling,” Moody said.

Persons having knowledge of the possible mistreatment of animals are encouraged to bring that to the attention of the responsible persons immediately.

Statement from MowMar Farms

MowMar Farms, the new owner of a pig/swine operation featured in a video posted on the PETA web site, stated that it is surprised and outraged over the images of animal mistreatment at this newly-acquired farm. As a family-owned farm operation with over 30 years in the swine business, MowMar farms does not and will not tolerate the mistreatment of any animals under our husbandry and we take these PETA allegations very seriously.

According to PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals), the mistreatment of pigs at the farm site was filmed over a period of three months starting June 10. MowMar farms purchased the farm featured in the video less than a month ago and has retained a new management company to oversee the daily operations at the farm. MowMar was first made aware of these allegations on 15 September, when PETA notified MowMar that it wanted to meet.

Representatives of PETA and MowMar's farm managers had a frank and open discussion in a meeting this morning about what PETA discovered and the actions being taken to correct this unfortunate situation. These commitments by MowMar and the farm manager include:

  1. A thorough investigation has been initiated of the incidents, policies and personnel that were in place prior to the acquisition of the farm by MowMar. Employees who committed animal cruelty violations have been and will be terminated based on the findings of the investigation.
  2. An animal handling expert will be invited to come to the farm and conduct a review of the policies and procedures to insure there is an independent authority providing additional guidance and best practices.
  3. Any policies or procedures that are not consistent with MowMar's policies and generally-accepted standards for the treatment of farm animals will be revised and strengthened.
  4. Current and future employees of MowMar and the farm management company will receive extensive training on our policies and the proper treatment of animals on our farms.
  5. Further, the effectiveness of video monitoring equipment is being researched as a tool to oversee all aspects of herd care.

In conclusion, MowMar farms will continue to enforce a 'zero-tolerance policy' with respect to the mistreatment or abuse of farm animals and is committed to correcting this inexcusable situation as quickly as possible.

Further Reading

- Go to our previous news item on this story by clicking here.

5m Editor