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May 9, 2012

Humane Society of the United States Investigation Leads Tyson Foods to Suspend Purchases from Wyoming Premium Farms

The HSUS Urges Tyson to Join Pork Industry Competitors in Phasing out Gestation Crates

An undercover investigation at a pig factory farm released yesterday by The Humane Society of the United States has prompted meat industry giant Tyson Foods to say that it has suspended its purchase of animals from Wyoming Premium Farms in Wheatland, Wyo., the facility that was exposed for abuses of sows and piglets.

Video shot in April 2012 shows workers kicking living 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.

Although Tyson Foods’ official media release about the investigation yesterday initially claimed “no connection” between Wyoming Premium Farms and its products, it also confirmed in the same statement that Tyson has “a small, but separate hog buying business that buys aged sows.” According to the Arkansas News Bureau, a Tyson spokesman “confirmed that some aged sows are purchased from Wyoming Premium Farms by Tyson Fresh Meats, a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, and sold to other companies.” Additionally, according to the Huffington Post, a Tyson spokesman wrote in an email that, “A company that we own has purchased hogs from the farm ... We will not purchase from this farm until we've had a chance to investigate.”

“Tyson’s investigation of this matter and suspending its purchases from the exposed facility is a start,” said Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at The HSUS. “But the pigs in Tyson’s supply systems will continue suffering as long as Tyson allows those pigs to be confined day and night in tiny gestation crates where they can’t even turn around.”

Other leading pork companies, like Smithfield and Hormel, have stated their company-owned pig breeding operations will be gestation crate-free by 2017, and Cargill’s breeding operations are already 50 percent gestation crate-free. Tyson has lagged behind its competitors in the pork industry and has not made any commitments to get gestation crates out of its supply chain.

Video footage and a full report from the investigation are available here.

 

Media Contact:

Anna West, awest@humanesociety.org, 301-258-1518

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