Photos from Direct Action Everywhere
With North Carolina activists already facing multiple felony charges for a 2018 Smithfield Foods pig farm investigation, the animal rights network Direct Action Everywhere (DxE) released a report and investigation of Smithfield Foods, the largest pork producer in the United States.
Activists have documented piglets suffering from dangerous antibiotic-resistant infections, mass pharmaceutical usage, as well as continued use of gestation crates, contrary to the company’s public commitments.
DxE claims that it is all part of a troubling pattern: the systemic corporate animal abuse covered up by so-called “ag-gag” legislation and prosecutions of whistleblowers.
Pressure wounds, infections and prolapses were found as well as intensive confinement and dead and dying babies. One shocking finding was a baby with a serious skin wound that covered about one-third of its back and was left open and bleeding. Another finding that stands out is the large number of babies with serious bacterial infections on their faces and bodies. One was rescued and brought to the vet.
“There is a systematic effort to protect animal abusing corporations from accountability and transparency,” DxE co-founder and former law professor Wayne Hsiung said in a statement. “It’s the Wild West. They are redefining animal welfare, consumer protection, and even free speech in ways that are arbitrary and dangerous.”
Operating on a tip from local residents, DxE activists entered Smithfield facilities in North Carolina and found thousands of mother pigs confined in gestation crates, cages so small that the animals cannot turn their heads, despite a company promise to phase out the practice. Piglets suffering from a deadly form of staph were removed from the facility and rushed to receive veterinary care. One, a victim of blunt force trauma to the head, died on the way to the vet.
The DxE activists assert that consumers are opposed to such abuses, but are being denied accurate information by a series of measures taken by industry-friendly legislation across the nation, including:
The Trump administration redefining the meaning of “outdoor access” under the federal Organic program to include completely-indoor factory farms, despite 70,000 comments by small farmers and consumers in opposition; and only 50 by factory farmers in support.
Limiting liability for pig farms that release potentially dangerous pollution into the air and water in North Carolina, even when residents and their families are sickened by such practices;
Supporting ag-gag laws that criminalize exposure of misconduct at animal-abusing facilities
Numerous other rollbacks on federal regulations that protect animals or consumers, but that threaten large factory farmers.