Hormel stops operations at supplier farm after video shows animal abuse

Markets Reuters

Packaged foods maker Hormel Foods Corp said on Tuesday that it had suspended operations at one its pork suppliers in Oklahoma until it investigates claims that pigs were being abused at the farm.

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Animal rights group Mercy for Animals released a video last week that showed large number of pigs and piglets constrained in small spaces, being treated cruelly and left to suffer from injuries and illnesses without veterinary care.

The video, which is 2 minutes and 26 seconds long and is available on YouTube and on Mercy for Animals' website, was part of the group's undercover investigation at the Maschhoffs farm.

Hormel said it would send third-party auditors to investigate the claims made in the video.

"We have issued a suspension of all the Maschhoffs, LLC Oklahoma sow operations while a thorough investigation is completed", Hormel said.

The Maschhoffs farm said in a statement that they had begun their own investigation into the events depicted in the video, and that they would re-train all employees in Oklahoma on proper production procedures.

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This is not the first instance that an animal activist group has released a video showing animals being treated cruelly at a Hormel supplier.

In 2015, Compassion Over Killing released a video showing workers at a Quality Pork Processors Inc plant beating, dragging and slitting the throats of live animals.

Hormel also said on Tuesday that its company-owned farm will be gestation crate free in the next 30 days.

(Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)