WARNING: Some of the video is graphic and may be inappropriate for some viewers
DENVER — Seven employees of a pig farm in northeastern Colorado are out of a job after disturbing video is released of them physically abusing pigs.
The undercover video was shot by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals in April. It was turned over to the Phillips County District Attorney and Sheriff last week. The four-minute video shows workers beating pigs with a plastic gas can; hitting the animals in the head and back.
“People have the right to know where their food comes from and how animal facilities are treating, so they can make informed choices,” said Matt Rice, lead investigator for Mercy for Animals.
The animal rights group told FOX31 Denver that the firing of the employees comes too little, too late.
“Pigs are capable of experiencing pain and suffering like cats and dogs many of us know and love and they deserve some protections from abuse,” said Rice.
Seaboard Foods said it was disappointed Mercy for Animals didn’t contact them first, before law enforcement, to allow its team to investigate. David Enheart, a spokesperson for Seaboard said it learned about the video after law enforcement showed it to them last week. He admits the employees violated company policy and said that’s why they were terminated.
“We have specific protocols and our goal is to keep pigs calm, safe during that process,” said Enheart.
Mercy for Animals also criticized Wal-Mart, a major purchaser of pork from Seaboard. Wal-Mart said in a statement it doesn’t tolerate the mistreatment of animals and requires its suppliers to adhere to industry and government standards.
FOX31 Denver is learning several other grocery stores also carry Seaboard pork.
The Phillips County District Attorney said it found no credible evidence that the animals housed at Seaboard were or are being abused to the point warranting the filing of charges.
Seaboard is retraining employees and letting them know they can call a toll free number to report abuses inside any of its farms.