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Walmart Investigates Minn. Pork Farm after Animal Abuse Claims

Updated: 10/30/2013 7:32 AM
Created: 10/29/2013 3:20 PM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste

A Minnesota pork farm that supplies pork to Walmart is in the national spotlight after an undercover employee secretly recorded what she called animal abuse.

The woman gave the video to Mercy for Animals, a national animal protection organization.

The woman worked at the Pipestone System in Pipestone which is located in southwest Minnesota. She worked there for 10 weeks.

Mercy for Animals says the video shows workers slamming little piglets head first into the concrete to kill them, workers ripping out the testicles, or ripping off tails of piglets without the use of painkillers. The former employee also saw workers punching, beating, throwing and dropping pigs and piglets.

A criminal investigation was launched, but no charges were filed.

Warning the video and photos may contain disturbing content. Click here to view the video and photos.

Pipestone System released a statement. The statement reads in part, "The Pipestone System does not condone any type of willful animal abuse. The Pipestone System immediately conducted an internal investigation of alleged mistreatment and discovered certain violations of its Animal Welfare Policy that resulted in the immediate termination of one employee. The Pipestone System also requested and underwent an immediate third party external audit of the operations at the farm. 'We remain absolutely committed to animal welfare and will continue to improve upon training and oversight everyday,' said Dr. Carissa Odland, Director of Animal Welfare for Pipestone System."

Mercy for Animals is urging Walmart to change its policy of getting pork from suppliers who use gestation crates, like the farm in Pipestone, saying they are so small pigs can't even turn around.

Walmart said today:

“We think the animal handling in this video is unacceptable. We are currently conducting our own review of the situation. For the past several months, we have been working on a new comprehensive auditing and tracking program for pork, which is scheduled to roll out in the coming weeks. The program is designed to track and source pork to help ensure that we purchase only from farms that are certified to meet the highest standards for the treatment of animals. We continue to work with the industry to develop animal welfare standards for pigs, and we expect our suppliers to adhere to these standards.”

KSTP Photo/Mike Lopez

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