Horrific Video of Gestation Crates at Smithfield Piglet Facility



From the Humane Society of the United States’ press release:

The Humane Society of the United States has released findings from an undercover investigation that documented the inhumane treatment of female breeding pigs and piglets at a Virginia factory farm owned by a subsidiary of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer. The investigation is the latest examination by The HSUS into the operations of the nation’s top animal agribusinesses. It follows HSUS investigations last month into Cal-Maine Foods, the country’s largest egg producer, and Willmar Poultry, the nation’s top turkey hatchery. In each case, The HSUS found unacceptable and systemic abuses, revealing that these companies do not always observe even minimal best practices when it comes to animal welfare.


  • Female breeding pigs were crammed inside “gestation crates” so small the animals could barely move for virtually their entire lives. The animals engaged in stereotypic behaviors such as biting the bars of crates, indicating poor well-being in the extreme confinement conditions. Some had bitten their bars so incessantly that blood from their mouths coated the fronts of their crates. The breeding pigs also suffered injuries from sharp crate protrusions and open pressure sores that developed from their unyielding confinement.
  • The investigator never saw a veterinarian at the operation. A barn manager told the investigator to ignore a pig with a basketball-sized abscess on her neck, and then cut the abscess open with an unsterilized razor.
  • Employees jabbed a lame pig’s neck and back with gate rods to force her to move.
  • Three times, the investigator informed employees that a pig was thrown into a dumpster alive. The animal had been shot in the forehead with a captive bolt gun, which is designed to render an animal unconscious, and was thrown in the dumpster still alive and breathing.
  • Employees mishandled piglets and tossed them into carts.
  • Some piglets prematurely born in gestation crates fell through the slats into the manure pits.

“If this is the best that Smithfield can do, it is evident that there are terrible problems in the nation’s pig industry,” stated Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “It is indefensible for Smithfield to allow its sows to linger in crates barely larger than their bodies for months on end.”


Click Here to see the video–very distrubing.

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  1. Jacky says:

    That is beyond horrible and gives me new motivation for buying from local farmers that are treating their animals humanly. This does not need to be the case. Sad and horrible to watch, but I am better for having seen it.

  2. Marguerite says:

    Animal cruelty is unacceptable in any form. The HSUS is no friend of animals and I have to question where the footage of this video was shot. I also would question the editing of it. Historically, the HSUS comes out with these “undercover investigations” at appropriate times to advance their anti agriculture agenda. I don’t trust the HSUS to be an advocate for animal welfare when their stated agenda is to see an end to domestic animals. What better way than to “find” inhumane conditions in animal facilities?

    From news reports, apparently there are now full blown multi level investigations occurring at this plant. Any practices which are inappropriate for the proper care of these animals should be ended immediately.

  3. Quinn says:

    Whether one trusts or doesn’t the HSUS (and I do as I know who is behind the smear campaign against them, Rick Berman & Co and he’s evil himself being paid handsomely by the corporations like Smithfield as their henchman), it does not matter who came out with the evidence. It doesn’t change what was happening or the truth of what’s being hidden so we won’t know the hell the animals go through before being sliced up and put on plates.

    At the very least, If people are going to eat animals one would think they wouldn’t want to put such sick animals in their own bodies.

    But if animal cruelty is truly unacceptable then why is it so hard for anyone to get in to inspect these facilities. That we keep buying it means we accept it.

  4. Marguerite says:

    Quinn, do you have evidence that any bona fide USDA or state dept of ag inspector was denied entrance to any facility to inspect it? Or are you just complaining that people with anti agriculture agendas are finding it more difficult to infiltrate these facilities with their hidden cameras and hidden agendas?

    You can say whatever you want about Rick Berman, the Center for Consumer Freedom, the money behind both and anyone else you want. It doesn’t change the facts. Much of what is posted by Humane Watch, the HSUS watchdog group is taken from public records. It is easy to determine if the information they are posting is true and accurate.

    And FYI, I and many others knew back in the nineties that the HSUS, PeTA and other animal rights organizations were not about securing the humane treatment of animals. They were advancing their extremist anti animal agendas of ending all ownership and use of animals. Neither Berman’s Center for Consumer Freedom nor Humane Watch even existed back then. If you think the HSUS is being so open and above board, why do you suppose they refused to allow Smithfield to see all of the unedited video taken at the facilities? What is the HSUS hiding?

  5. This is horrifying, and sadly, not surprising. I keep hearing more and more stories like these. So much torture is happening to animals across the country and the world. That’s why it is so important to be aware of where your meat, dairy and eggs are coming from and only buy from farms that are treating their animals well. How can we stop this inhumane treatment if we don’t actively do something?

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