Target: Jerry W. O’Brien, owner of Iron Maiden Hog Farm
Goal: Stop factory farm from feeding piglets to adult pigs
A hog farm in Owensboro, Kentucky has been feeding piglets to unknowing adult sows, which are often the piglets’ own mothers. The farm, Iron Maiden Hog Farm, has been afflicted with porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, also known as PEDV. According to covert videos taken by the Humane Society of the United States, when this factory farm finds piglets infected with PEDV they routinely kill them, grind their bodies into a “smoothie,” and feed this “smoothie” to the adult sows. This is done in an effort to inoculate adult pigs against PEDV.
This practice is in violation of Kentucky law, and possibly federal law as well. According to NPR, “The Swine Health Protection Act prohibits feeding untreated garbage, which may include animal material, to pigs, unless it’s ‘household waste.’” A representative of the American Association of Swine Veterinarians has claimed that the practice is necessary to keep adult sows healthy in an environment overrun with PEDV. However, this is not an acceptable excuse for breaking the law and subjecting both the piglets and the sows to unimaginable cruelty.
While PEDV has been sweeping through industrial hog farming operations for the last year, forced cannibalism is not the only answer to stopping the disease. With more space, more humane conditions, and fewer stressors, pigs would be able to develop stronger immune systems, possibly fighting off the disease altogether. However, pigs at Iron Maiden do not experience such conditions. Like in many factory farms, the hogs here are kept in small gestational crates that allow for little to no movement and which can quickly become filthy and toxic environments.
Iron Maiden Hog Farm has disregarded the law and the welfare of the animals they raise. By valuing profit over the lives of baby piglets, they have allowed their operation to become one of the worst examples of animal cruelty today. Demand that Iron Maiden Hog Farms owner Jerry W. O’Brien cease the despicable practice of feeding “piglet smoothies” to sows immediately.
Dear Mr. O’Brien,
The practice of feeding ground piglet intestines to the piglets’ mothers is cruel and inhumane. There is no excuse for putting the lives and health of animals at risk for the sake of profit.
Not only is this practice unnatural, it is also illegal. According to Kentucky state law no farm may feed garbage or waste, including animal remains, to healthy animals.
I am insisting that your business, Iron Maiden Hog Farm, cease this practice immediately and apologize to consumers who may have unintentionally consumed pork made from sows forced to eat their young.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Tim Geers via Flickr