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Demonstrators Gather Outside Local Walmart Monday, Criticize Abuse of Farm Pigs

An undercover investigation last year found that a pork farm, which supplies Walmart, mistreats its pigs
Pigs protestors
Demonstrators gather outside a Springfield Walmart off East Kearney Street/credit: Samuel Crowe

A small pack of protestors braved the cold Monday morning outside a Springfield Walmart. As KSMU’s Samuel Crowe reports, they were demonstrating against the alleged cruel treatment of pigs whose meat is sold in Walmart stores.

The demonstration followed an undercover investigation by the Los Angeles based non-profit Mercy for Animals. Phil Letten, a spokesman for Mercy for Animals, says the investigation took place at Christiansen Farms in Minnesota, one of Walmart’s main pork suppliers.

“We documented pregnant pigs confined to filthy metal crates that are so small, the animals can’t even turn around. They’re virtually immobilized for basically their entire lives. These crates are so cruel that they’ve been banned in nine U.S. states and the European Union. Yet Walmart continues to sell pork from factory farms that use them. We’re just calling on Walmart to follow the lead of Costco, Kroger, Safeway, and its other competitors in committing to phase out these cruel crates,” Letten said.

Hidden camera footage also found piglets being slammed headfirst into the ground, their testicles and tails removed without painkillers. Letten was joined today (Monday) by six volunteers and a 10 foot tall inflatable pig, covered in bloody sores and locked in a small crate.

Springfield resident Michael Criger was one of those volunteers.

“Meat is something people eat three times a day, they don’t think twice about it. If they see an image like what we have out here, this inflatable pig in a crate, it kind of gives people a second to think about where there food comes from, and wonder if they’re making the right choices about what they’re eating every day,” Criger said.

Phil Letten says numerous other investigations have found animal cruelty by companies who provide Walmart with food products, though he did not specify.

“This isn’t a matter of one single factory farm failing to meet Walmart’s standards, it’s a matter of Walmart’s standards allowing blatant animal abuse at all their pork facilities nationwide,” Letten said.

Walmart did not respond to KSMU’s requests for comment by deadline.

For KSMU News, I’m Samuel Crowe.

Mercy For Animals

The Investigation