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HSUS Statement on HBO's Death on a Factory Farm

The Humane Society of the United States

Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle released the following statement regarding HBO premiering its feature-length documentary Death on a Factory Farm, by filmmakers Tom Simon and Sarah Teale, last night:

"Last year, Americans were horrified to see the abuse of spent dairy cows at a southern California slaughter plant. Now, they are seeing the appalling mistreatment of pigs on a factory farm — subjected to lifetime confinement and, in some circumstances, death by hanging. The Humane Society of the United States applauds filmmakers Tom Simon and Sarah Teale for their work, and HBO for airing this unauthorized inside view of a factory farm in Ohio.

"In the film, pigs are shown confined in two-foot-wide gestation crates on an Ohio factory farm, where they are isolated and virtually immobilized for months on end. Highly intelligent pigs are unable even to turn around in gestation crates.  Fortunately, more and more corporations, retailers, and states are taking action to phase out this unacceptable mistreatment. These crates have now been banned in Florida, Arizona, Oregon, Colorado and California, and Ohio should join this list.  Even Smithfield Foods, the largest pig producer in the world, has announced it will phase out the use of these crates.

"Death on a Factory Farm also depicts workers 'euthanizing' lame pigs by wrapping a chain around their necks, suspending them from a tractor, and hanging them execution-style. It takes 4-5 minutes before the pigs stop thrashing in the air. Despite such appallingly inhumane treatment being caught red-handed on video, a judge hearing the case acquitted the factory farm owner and his employees on charges related to the hangings. After the acquittal, industry trade journal Feedstuffs reported that the president of the Ohio Pork Producers Council lauded the ruling as a 'huge victory' for the livestock industry.

"Treating animals like objects is not acceptable to the people of Ohio or any other state. Lifetime confinement in crates and killing by such grossly inhumane means must end, and The HSUS is committed to that goal."

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The Humane Society of the United States is the nation's largest animal protection organization — backed by 11 million Americans, or one of every 30. For more than a half-century, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education, and hands-on programs. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty — on the web at humanesociety.org.