Earlier this week, the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) released yet another undercover video exposing the unnecessary and inhumane treatment of animals on factory farms. This time, the honors were given to Seaboard Foods and Prestage Farms, two of the nation’s top pork “producers,” both located in Oklahoma. Seaboard is a supplier to Walmart.
|Screenshot of the undercover video from Seaboard Farms. Does this look humane to you?|
In response to the undercover videos, Prestage Farms has devoted their entire homepage to a response to the HSUS. They state that that have a “long-standing history of meeting high-quality animal care standards.” And it goes on with more “humane washing.” Seaboard Foods has no mention of the investigation, but it does ironically display its proud partnership with Butterball.
Yes, remember Butterball?
Late in 2011, Mercy for Animals had exposed cruel treatment of turkeys at a Butterball factory farm in North Carolina. As Rick says in the memorable last line of Casablanca, “…I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
|Seaboard-Butterball proudly displayed on Seaboard's website|
The same week that the undercover Walmart pork video surfaced, Hormel Foods, the company that makes Spam, announced that they would phase out gestation crates by 2017.
While some companies like Hormel are listening to consumers and recognizing that the days of hiding their practices are ending, others are fighting it.
In 2011, legislators from four states -- Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and New York – (undoubtedly with generous and influential donations from BigAg), introduced bills to make the videotaping of factory farms illegal. These bills- appropriately called Ag Gag bills- have all failed, but BigAg is back with a vengeance in 2012 with more bills and new tactics.
So far legislators from the four states from 2011 have already re-introduced their Ag Gag bills, and have brought some friends along: Indiana and Nebraska.
These Ag Gag bills have an important function in keeping costs low and output high at factory farms. But as long as Americans keep seeing what is going on deep inside the walls of the factory farms through the lens of the undercover video camera, they will keep demanding better treatment of the animals they consume. And that would mean an end to business as usual. For while pigs, chickens, cows and other animals are rolling in filth, Big Ag executives are rolling in the dough.