McRib Producer Hit with Complaint Over Alleged Animal Abuse

Staff Writer
An undercover video reveals the use of gestation crates

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

Smithfield Farms, one of the largest pork production companies in the world, and the supplier of pork for McDonald's, is allegedly treating their pigs inhumanely, misleading the public and shareholders alike.

In 2007, Smithfield made a promise to phase out "gestation crates," which limit a pig's movement its entire life. In 2009, they withdrew that promise, citing financial concerns.

Still, in February of this year Smithfield released a video explaining their free-access pens for their pigs (with cute piglets to boot). But the Humane Society of the United States complaint filed with the SEC suggests otherwise, with investigators alleging an instance of shooting a pig with a stun gun. Their graphic undercover video, shot in December, shows sows stuck in gestation crates.

Smithfield is looking into the complaint, Bloomberg Businessweek reports. "We are proud of our unparalleled track record as a sustainable food producer and stand confidently behind our company's public statements concerning animal care and environmental stewardship," the company said in a written statement.

According to Businessweek, McDonald's statement read, "McDonald's has been a long-time supporter of alternatives to gestation stalls, and we will continue to support the efforts of Smithfield Foods and all of our suppliers to phase them out."

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