A groundbreaking Mercy For Animals Canada undercover investigation provides a shocking look into blatant animal abuse at one of the nation's largest pork producers—Puratone—in Arborg, Manitoba.
At this pork supplier for some of Canada's largest grocery chains, including Sobeys, Superstore/ Loblaws, Metro, and Walmart, pregnant pigs and their piglets are forced to suffer brutal abuse and lives of unrelenting confinement and misery.
In late 2012, an MFA Canada investigator documented:
- Thousands of pregnant pigs confined to filthy, metal gestation crates so small they were unable to even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives
- Pigs suffering from large, open wounds and pressure sores from rubbing against the bars of their tiny cages or lying on the hard concrete flooring
- Pregnant pigs—physically taxed from constant birthing—suffering from distended, inflamed, and bleeding prolapses
- Pigs too sick to stand being kicked, slapped, and pulled by their ears to force them to walk
- Pigs having metal bolts fired into their skulls, leaving many still conscious and blinking
- Workers slamming piglets into the ground and leaving them to slowly suffer and die
- Workers cutting out testicles and slicing off the tails of fully conscious piglets without the use of any painkillers.
Upon reviewing the undercover footage, Dr. Ian Duncan, professor emeritus at the University of Guelph, and holder of the oldest university chair in animal welfare in North America, stated: “It is the worst cruelty inflicted on an animal that I have witnessed in many years” and “[T]hese awful conditions are leading to terrible and unnecessary suffering for hundreds of animals.”
Dr. Temple Grandin, the world's leading expert on farmed animal welfare, also admonished this pig factory farm, stating: "The farm is poorly managed and it is obvious that the employees have not been trained in proper procedures.” Dr. Grandin previously condemned the use of gestation crates by the pork industry, asserting: “[G]estation crates for pigs are a real problem. ... Basically, you're asking a sow to live in an airline seat. ... I think it's something that needs to be phased out.”
While many of the standard industry practices uncovered at this pig factory farm are needlessly cruel, subjecting animals to a lifetime of confinement in crates so small they are virtually immobilized is perhaps the worst form of institutionalized animal abuse in existence. A growing number of animal welfare experts opposes the use of gestation crates, concluding what common sense should have told us all along: animals with legs should have room to move.
Major food providers have also recognized the inherent cruelty of gestation crates. Costco, Safeway, McDonald’s, Tim Hortons, and over 30 other major retailers in Canada and the United States have started demanding that their suppliers do away with them.
Sadly, grocery giants Sobeys, Superstore/Loblaws, Metro, and Walmart condone confining animals in crates barely larger than their bodies by selling pork from producers who use gestation crates—including Puratone. These corporations have both the power and ethical responsibility to reject this abusive factory farming practice by immediately adopting policies that require suppliers to phase out their use of gestation crates.
As MFA Canada works to expose and end the exploitation of animals at the hands of the meat, egg, and dairy industries, consumers still hold the greatest power of all to prevent needless suffering of farmed animals by adopting a healthy and humane, vegetarian diet.