Nine employees of a pig breeding farm near Wheatland, Wyoming have been cited for cruelty to animals after an investigation of abuse by the Humane Society of the U.S. (HSUS).
The abuse at Wyoming Premium Farms LLC came to light in May following release of an HSUS undercover video.
Cited for cruelty to animals:
Wyoming Premium Farms assistant manager Shawn Colson, seven counts of cruelty to animals.
Kyla Erin Adams, two counts.
Bryan David Bienz Jr., two counts.
Jarrod Barney Juarez, two counts.
Kali E. Oseland, four counts.
Steve Perry, three counts.
Edward Raymond “Jake” Pritekel, three counts.
Richard Pritekel, four counts.
Patrick D. Rukavina, three counts.
An animal cruelty conviction in Wyoming carries a maximum penalty of up to two years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine. All nine abusers have been reportedly fired from the farm since the allegations came to light. Their first court appearance has been scheduled for January 18.
The problem came to light in May when HSUS released footage showing workers kicking animals, hitting them with sticks and tossing piglets. Shot by undercover activists over 27 days, the video shows a bearded worker taking his anger out on a sick-looking mother pig, shouting: ‘You want to f*** with me today? I’m in no f***ing mood!’ before punching it.
The undercover investigator also found pregnant pigs with untreated abscesses and severe rectal and uterine prolapses, mummified piglet corpses, and baby piglets who had fallen through floor slats to either hang to death or drown in manure pits. Pigs used for breeding were confined in two-foot-wide metal cages so small they can’t even turn around.
The Wheatland-based pig farm does business with a subsidiary of Tyson Foods, which has tried to distance itself from the Wyoming operation.
Although companies like McDonald’s and Burger King have denounced cruel treatment of pigs that spend their lives confined to tiny crates, this type of behavior is all too common on factory farms.
The only federal laws governing animal cruelty apply to slaughterhouses, where animals may spend only minutes before being dispatched. None apply to farms, where animals are protected only by state laws.
The Huffington Post reported that some states have embraced ‘ag gag’ laws to criminalize gaining access to a farm facility under false pretenses. Minnesota’s “ag-gag” law would seek to punish not only photographers and videographers but those who distribute their work, which means organizations like the Humane Society of the United States.
Standard factory-farming practices in America are inhumane. If you’re raising and killing 10 billion animals every year, such abuse is pretty much guaranteed.
Sources (GRAPHIC stills and video):