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Tue May 8, 2012
Humane Society video spurs investigation at Wheatland factory farm
Authorities are investigating a factory pork farm in Wheatland after the Humane Society filed a complaint about harsh treatment of pigs there.
The Humane Society sent an undercover investigator to work at Wyoming Premium Farmsfor an unknown period of time, where she filmed workers kicking piglets and punching sows. The group sent complaints and videos to the Platte County Sheriff’s Office and the Wyoming Livestock Board.
The sheriff was unavailable for comment, but Jim Siler of the Livestock Board says they’ve begun investigating conditions at the farm.
“In any kind of investigation, it’s basically through your witnesses … through the condition of the animals… through testimony. And, if we need to examine animals, we make sure we get veterinarians,” Siler says.
Siler says the investigation could take a couple of months.
Paul Shapiro of the Humane Society says the group’s probe and complaint was meant to pressure Tyson Foods, which is loosely associated with the farm, to improve its farming practices and stop the practice of putting sows in small cages known as gestation crates.
“We’re calling on Tyson foods to do the right thing and for Tyson to stop allowing its suppliers to lock animals inside of tiny cages where they can’t even turn around, essentially, for their entire lives,” Shapiro says.
But Tyson denies Wyoming Premium Farms supplies any of the pork going into their products. Rather, the company says it has a smaller business that buys and sells old sows to other processors.
In a statement from Wyoming Premium Farms, General Manager Doug DeRouchey says he knew nothing about the animal abuse and was disappointed that the Humane Society investigator didn’t report it to him.