PETA responds to Pork Council letter

Published 11:15 am Tuesday, November 4, 2008

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) responded Tuesday to a letter from the National Pork Producers Council, National Pork Board and American Association of Swine Veterinarians defending accusations of abuse targeted at a Hormel Foods supplier in Bayard, Iowa.

Six individuals ranging in age from 18 to 60 have been charged with animal abuse crimes following an investigation at a hog confinement facility in Bayard that contracts with Hormel Foods.

In a letter dated Oct. 24 and addressed to PETA president Ingrid Newkirk, Chris Novack, CEO of the National Pork Board, explains that pork producers take animal care seriously.

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“While your criticisms have been directed at Hormel Foods Corp., the issue of animal well-being involves farm animals raised and processed at thousands of operations,” Novak said. “To single out one entity, in our opinion, belies your mission to protect all animals.

“Our organizations have been quick to condemn mistreatment of pigs,” Novak said. “We hope PETA shares our commitment to providing the best possible care for animals, and if PETA truly cares about animals, it will release without delay any evidence it now has of animal abuse on farms.

Daphna Nachiminovitch, vice president of PETA’s Cruelty, Investigations Department, responded to the Pork Council’s letter Nov. 3, not backing down from their accusations.

“The violence and mistreatment that we uncovered this summer at a Bayard, Iowa-area farm is not unique or isolated,” she said, citing an investigation at a farm in North Carolina.

“Also last year, PETA notified Hormel Foods that in multiple facilities of a Minnesota Hormel supplier, employees threw pigs, shocked them, struck them with metal sorting panels, dragged animals by their ears and left inured and lame pigs to suffer without any pain relief whatsoever.”