LYNCHBURG, VA -
Wal-Mart shoppers received quite the entrance Thursday as they were pulling into the parking lot. Greeted by a 10-foot-tall inflatable pig, bloody with sores and locked in a narrow crate.
Members of the national animal rights organization Mercy For Animals protested outside Walmart with a demonstration against the cruel practice of confining pregnant pigs in tiny crates on factory farms where they are unable to even lie down comfortably, turn around, or engage in basic natural behaviors.
Local activists wielding signs with images of abused pigs, reading: "Walmart Tortures Pigs" and "Walmart Pork = Animal Abuse" will joined the protest. Walmart is under fire for cruelty to animals following an undercover investigation exposing shocking abuse to pigs at one of the retailer's main pork suppliers.
Mercy For Animals is calling on Walmart to require its pork suppliers to phase out the practice of confining pigs in narrow crates—something Kroger, Safeway, Costco, and McDonald's have recently done.
The practice of confining sensitive, intelligent, and social pigs into tiny gestation crates has been widely condemned by veterinarians and leading farmed animal welfare experts. Confining a pregnant pig inside a narrow gestation crate, where she is virtually immobilized, has been banned in nine U.S. states and the entire European Union.
Newly released hidden-camera footage secretly recorded at Christensen Farms, a Walmart pork supplier, reveals pregnant pigs confined for nearly their entire lives in fly-infested crates barely larger than their own bodies, pigs suffering from bloody open wounds and infections, and piglets being slammed headfirst into the ground and having their testicles ripped out and tails cut off without painkillers.
"Walmart pork suppliers are guilty of horrific cruelty to animals," says Mercy For Animals' national campaign coordinator Jeni Haines. "Pork sold in Walmart stores comes from pigs who are abused, neglected, and sentenced to lives of extreme confinement and deprivation in crates. This is blatant animal abuse that no socially responsible corporation should be supporting. If Walmart pork producers subjected dogs and cats to the array of standard abuses they inflict on pigs, they would be arrested and jailed on grounds of animal cruelty."