Tuesday, June 10, 2014


When you open your mouth to take that first bite, do you ever wonder? Ever stop to think? That hamburger, that crispy turkey, that ham sandwich, that "healthy" egg: It didn't start out in the supermarket case. The animal it came from was alive. It had feelings. It suffered. It was slaughtered. But, even worse - it was TORTURED.
Phyllis Carter
http://www.cratedcruelty.ca/ Délimax Veal - Quebec, 2014

Sickening cruelty to baby calves was captured on hidden camera by an MFA Canada investigator at a Délimax-affiliated veal factory farm in Quebec, Canada's largest veal-producing province. Calves are seen crammed into tiny wooden crates, often chained at the neck and unable to turn around or lie down comfortably, and workers are documented violently kicking and beating them. This gut-wrenching investigation received widespread media attention, including an in-depth story on CTV's W5 and coverage by the Toronto Star, CBC Montreal, and more.

Following the investigation, Quebec's veal producers federation announced it would phase out the use of inherently cruel veal crates. After discussions with MFA Canada representatives, Canada's top grocery chains, including Metro and Sobeys, committed to ending the sale of veal from crated calves by 2018. Loblaws made a similar commitment soon after. MFA Canada is now calling on the Retail Council of Canada to follow suit.

Watch the undercover video here.

http://www.mercyforanimals.ca/hatchery/ Horizon Hatchery - Ontario, 2014

Hidden-camera video exposed extreme cruelty to animals at a chicken hatchery owned by Maple Leaf Foods, one of Canada's largest meat producers. The shocking video footage shows baby chicks flung by their fragile wings and slammed into metal dividers, live chicks sent through a scalding washing machine, burned, and drowned, and birds being overloaded and roughly crammed into macerators to be ground up alive.

These atrocities were brought to light by a brave investigator with MFA Canada, which resulted in extensive international media coverage, including by CBC News, The Huffington Post, CTV London, the Toronto Sun, and The Ontario Post. MFA is calling on Maple Leaf to implement meaningful animal welfare policies to prevent this kind of blatant animal abuse.

Watch the undercover video here.

http://www.turkeytorture.ca/ Hybrid Turkeys - Ontario, 2014

An investigator from MFA Canada secretly filmed workers abusing birds in filthy, overcrowded warehouses at the world's largest primary turkey breeder, Hybrid Turkeys. Workers were caught on hidden camera kicking and throwing turkeys, crushing their spines, and violently beating them with shovels and metal rods. Turkeys with open, pus-filled wounds, rotting eyes, and festering infections were left to suffer and die.

The investigation sparked an important national discussion about the plight of factory-farmed turkeys and garnered massive mainstream media attention, including from the Toronto Star, CTV News, and CBC's Marketplace, which aired an in-depth news report. MFA Canada is calling on the turkey industry to require veterinary care for sick and injured birds, install live-streaming video monitors, and ban the practice of breeding birds to grow so quickly they become crippled under their own weight.

Watch the undercover video here.

http://www.sliceofcruelty.com/ Wiese Brothers Farms - Wisconsin, 2013

Workers viciously kicking, beating and whipping cows in the face and body, sick and injured cows suffering from open wounds and infections, and workers dragging cows by their fragile legs and necks using chains attached to a tractor — these are just some of the routine abuses documented by an MFA investigator at a DiGiorno cheese supplier in Wisconsin.

The shocking video footage made headlines around the world through United Press International, NBC National News and the Daily Mail. DiGiorno quickly cut ties with the dairy factory farm, while MFA and a state lawmaker continue to press for criminal prosecution of workers. MFA is calling on DiGiorno not only to stop buying from this particular facility, but to implement meaningful animal welfare guidelines for all of its cheese suppliers to help prevent some of the worst forms of animal abuse in the dairy industry.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.walmartcruelty.com/learnmore.php#tyson Tyson Pork Group - Oklahoma, 2013

An MFA investigation at a Tyson pig factory farm in Oklahoma uncovered sadistic animal abuse, including workers throwing a bowling ball at a pig's head, and kicking, throwing, hitting, body slamming, and otherwise torturing pigs. The investigator also documented thousands of pregnant pigs crammed in gestation crates so small the animals could not even turn around or lie down comfortably for nearly their entire lives.

The investigation received widespread media coverage from NBC News, LA Times, Mother Jones, and more. The abuses caught on tape were widely condemned by animal welfare experts. Following the investigation, Tyson immediately dropped its contract with the factory farm, and local law enforcement is investigating. Tyson is a major pork supplier to Walmart. MFA is calling on Walmart to adopt new animal welfare guidelines prohibiting Tyson and its other pork suppliers from confining pigs in crates barely larger than their own bodies.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.walmartcruelty.com/learnmore.php#pipestone Pipestone System - Minnesota, 2013

An MFA investigator documented horrific animal abuse at this major Walmart pork supplier owned by Randy Spronk, the president of the National Pork Producers Council. During the investigation, workers were seen violently slamming conscious piglets headfirst against the ground, ripping off their tails and testicles without painkillers, hitting, throwing, and dropping pigs and piglets, and confining pregnant pigs in filthy, fly-infested gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies for nearly their entire lives.

While this type of animal abuse outrages most Americans, it is considered standard practice and defended by the pork industry. Mainstream media coverage of the investigation in Minneapolis Star Tribune, Arkansas Times, The Huffington Post and more depicted practices that Walmart calls "unacceptable" and prompted thousands of people to sign the petition calling on Walmart to ditch cruel gestation crates.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.eggmcmisery.ca/ Creekside Farms and Kuku Farms - Alberta, 2013

Mercy For Animals Canada shocked the nation with hidden-camera video of two suppliers to Burnbrae Farms — McDonald's Canada's exclusive egg provider. The undercover investigation revealed thousands of egg-laying hens crammed inside tiny wire battery cages, workers smashing in the heads of baby birds and tossing live chicks into trash bags to suffocate, and dead hens left to rot in cages with live birds still laying eggs for human consumption.

"W5," Canada's leading investigative news program, aired an in-depth story about the investigation, which was followed by massive media coverage across Canada, including by the National Post, The Globe and Mail, and the Toronto Star. The news not only horrified Canadians, many of whom did not realize that battery-cage systems were used in the country, but it sparked an important national discussion about the welfare of millions of animals who are systematically abused in the factory farming industry.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.amazoncruelty.com/ Hudson Valley Foie Gras - New York, 2013

"Foie gras," which is French for fatty liver, is produced by shoving metal pipes down the throats of ducks and force-feeding them three times a day for up to three weeks. This painful process causes the birds' livers to swell up to ten times the normal size. The resulting diseased, fatty livers are then sold as foie gras. Video footage, secretly recorded by a Mercy For Animals investigator, shows the violent and often fatal practice of force-feeding ducks at Hudson Valley Foie Gras — an Amazon.com foie gras supplier.

Forcing metal pipes down ducks' throats and cramming excessive amounts of food into their stomachs in order to produce diseased, fatty livers is so patently cruel the practice has been banned in California and more than a dozen countries. Recognizing its inherent cruelty, major restaurants and grocers, including Costco, Safeway, Target, Giant Eagle, Whole Foods Market, and Wolfgang Puck, refuse to sell foie gras. It is time for Amazon to follow the lead of these retailers in taking a stand against blatant animal torture by ending the sale of foie gras on its website.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.ca/pigcruelty/ Puratone - Manitoba, 2012

MFA's sister organization in Canada completed its first undercover investigation into the Canadian pork industry, documenting the standard practice of cramming thousands of pregnant pigs into filthy, metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies. The investigation also revealed workers ripping out the testicles and cutting off the tails of piglets without any painkillers.

The extreme abuse suffered by animals behind the closed doors of Canada's factory farms sparked far-reaching media coverage and opened the eyes of millions of Canadians to the plights of pigs in their country. The media frenzy began with an exclusive story on CTV's renowned investigative program W5, followed by additional in-depth coverage in the Toronto Star, on CTV National, and on CBC National. From there, the shocking investigative video went viral and was seen by millions of people worldwide.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.butterballabuse.com/ Butterball - North Carolina, 2012

Less than a year after an MFA investigation led to criminal animal cruelty convictions of Butterball workers, a new investigation at multiple turkey factory farms in North Carolina shows that animal abuse continues to run rampant at Butterball. Workers were caught on video kicking and throwing turkeys, violently slamming them into tiny transport crates, and allowing sick or injured birds to slowly suffer and die without proper veterinary care.

Massive media coverage in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and a television advertising campaign warning consumers about the ongoing cruelty and violence at Butterball raised awareness among millions of Americans about the plights of turkeys killed for Thanksgiving dinners.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.burgerkingcruelty.com/ Bettencourt Dairies - Idaho, 2012

Hidden-camera video footage secretly recorded by an MFA undercover investigator at a Burger King cheese supplier has led to the arrest of a manager and two other workers at Bettencourt Dairies, one of the largest dairies in the country. Workers were caught on video viciously beating and shocking cows, violently twisting their tails in order to deliberately inflict pain, and dragging a downed cow by her neck using a chain attached to a tractor.

Following the release of the investigation, Kraft Foods, the largest food company in the United States, announced a new policy requiring all its dairy suppliers to phase out the cruel practice of tail docking cattle, among other important animal welfare policies. Unfortunately, while Kraft has taken a step to help end many of the shocking abuses caught on tape at this dairy factory farm, Burger King — another major food retailer linked to Bettencourt Dairies &mdahs; has yet to require its cheese suppliers to make any meaningful animal welfare improvements.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.walmartcruelty.com/learnmore.php#christensen Christensen Farms - Minnesota, 2012

An undercover MFA investigation provides a shocking look into a Walmart pork supplier — Christensen Farms — where pregnant pigs and their piglets are forced to suffer lives of extreme confinement and misery. Thousands of pigs are confined to filthy, metal gestation crates so small they are unable to even turn around for nearly their entire lives. Workers slam conscious piglets headfirst into the ground, rip out their testicles and cut off their tails without painkillers.

Following the investigation, Costco, the third-largest grocery chain in America, and Kmart, the third-largest discount store in the world, announced they would begin requiring their pork suppliers to phase out cruel gestation crates. Unfortunately, Walmart is supporting animal abuse by selling pork from Christensen Farms and other producers that confine pigs to cages barely larger than their own bodies.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/auction/video.aspx Ontario Livestock Sales - California, 2012

An MFA investigator documented an ongoing pattern of cruelty, egregious violence, and severe neglect at Ontario Livestock Sales, one of the oldest and largest livestock auctions in southern California. Law enforcement charged the owner and seven employees with a total of twenty-one counts of animal cruelty after an MFA investigator exposed workers throwing, beating, stomping on, and kicking animals. "Downed" animals — those too sick or injured to walk — were sold, transported, and left to slowly suffer and die.

Management at this auction facility witnessed downed animals and even participated in routine violence and cruelty to animals in clear violation of California law. The city of Ontario's mayor and a senior councilmember declared the abuse "shocking" and called for the owner and employees to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/CASlaughter/ Illegal Slaughter Operation - California, 2011

Hidden-camera footage obtained by Mercy For Animals led to the arrest of Roberto Celedon for three felony and 10 misdemeanor criminal charges related to his illegal slaughter operation in Los Angeles County, California.

The shocking video evidence shows animals being violently pinned down, having their throats crudely sawed open, and slowly bleeding to death. This case graphically illustrates the cruel, inhumane and illegal abuses that farmed animals are all too often subjected to in California and across the nation.

During a raid of the facility, Los Angeles County Animal Control officers seized dozens of sick, injured and emaciated animals. These animals are now being rehabilitated at The Gentle Barn, a sanctuary for farmed animals in California.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.butterballabuse.com/ Butterball - North Carolina, 2011

An MFA investigator documented appalling abuse and neglect at a Butterball facility in Shannon, North Carolina. Butterball workers violently kicked and stomped on birds, dragged them by their wings and necks, slammed them into transport crates and left turkeys to suffer from serious untreated injuries and infections.

MFA reached out to the local district attorney to uphold state anti-cruelty laws and to charge Butterball for its criminal violations. Using evidence from the case, the state issued a search warrant to raid Butterball. For two days authorities documented Butterball's neglect, generating extensive media coverage from CNN, Fox, NBC, CBS, and news giants United Press International, The Associated Press, Reuters, and USA Today.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mcdonaldscruelty.com/ Sparboe Farms - Iowa, Minnesota, and Colorado, 2011

What's really in a McDonald's Egg McMuffin? An MFA undercover investigator exposed appalling cruelty at the fast-food giant's major egg supplier. Hidden-camera footage shot at Sparboe Farms - the fifth-largest egg producer in the country and a significant egg supplier to McDonald's, Target, Sam's Club, Supervalu, and Hy-Vee - revealed hens crammed into filthy battery cages and dead hens left to rot alongside birds still laying eggs for human consumption. The investigator also documented workers burning off the beaks of chicks without painkillers, sadistically and maliciously torturing animals, and throwing live birds into plastic bags and leaving them to suffocate.

The investigation received unparalleled international media attention - airing on ABC's Good Morning America, World News Tonight, and 20/20 - and prompted McDonald's, Target, Sam's Club, and Supervalu to immediately discontinue their relationships with Sparboe Farms. Following the investigation, MFA filed a legal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission against Sparboe for making false and misleading public claims regarding animal welfare practices.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/pigabuse/ Iowa Select - Iowa, 2011

Working undercover at Iowa's largest pig factory farm - which confines thousands of mother pigs to barren metal crates barely larger than their own bodies and supplies pork products to major grocery chains, including Kroger, Safeway, HyVee and Costco - MFA's investigator documented management training employees to use dull clippers to cut off the tails of piglets, to castrate them without painkillers and to throw piglets across the room - comparing it to a "roller coaster ride." The investigation also revealed mother pigs - physically taxed from constant birthing - suffering from distended, inflamed, bleeding, and usually fatal uterine prolapses, and sick and injured pigs often left to languish and slowly die without proper veterinary care.

Stirring massive mainstream media attention, the investigation also raised awareness among millions of people about how the majority of pigs are raised and killed for food in the United States.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/calves/ E6 Cattle Co. - Texas, 2011

Undercover footage from this factory farm - which raises over 10,000 calves for use on dairy farms - documented workers bludgeoning calves with pickaxes and hammers, burning out their horns without painkillers, standing on their necks, pulling them by their ears, and leaving them to suffer without veterinary care.

The investigation sparked national outrage, caused the live-cattle stock price to drop, fueled efforts to halt legislation to criminalize whistleblowers for videotaping animal cruelty and holding abusers accountable, and prompted countless consumers to consider the plight of calves born into the dairy industry for the first time.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/fish/ Catfish Corner - Texas, 2010

Hidden camera footage secretly shot at a Texas fish slaughter facility revealed shocking cruelty, including workers cutting, slicing, skinning, suffocating and dismembering live and fully conscious catfish - an excruciatingly painful practice harshly condemned by veterinarians. It is now widely accepted that fish feel pain. In fact, fish process pain in much the same way as mammals. In the U.S. each year, approximately 8.4 billion fish are killed for food. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 80% of farm-raised fish are catfish, with Texas as a leading producer.

MFA contacted all 181 Texas House and Senate members to address the abuse by introducing new legislation to specifically prohibit "skinning and dismembering of all live, conscious animals" during the 2011 legislative session.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/veal/ Buckeye Veal Farm - Ohio, 2010

This undercover investigation exposed the inherent cruelty of crated veal production - whereby baby calves are chained by their necks in filthy stalls, where they can't turn around, walk or engage in natural behaviors. The majority of veal sold in the U.S. comes from calves raised in this abusive manner, yet five states and all 27 countries in the European Union have outlawed the practice.

Immediately following the investigative release, Costco Wholesale, the third largest grocery chain in America, adopted a policy against purchasing veal from producers that use the create-and-chain production method, and Bob Barker, Emmy Award-winning host of The Price is Right, urged consumers nationwide to boycott veal and dairy. The exposé prompted Ohio decision-makers to vote in favor of a veal crate phase-out in the state.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ohdairy/ Conklin Dairy Farms - Ohio, 2010

Hidden camera video recorded at this Central Ohio dairy farm reveals sadistic and malicious cruelty to cows and newborn calves. The undercover footage exposes animals being beaten in the face with metal pipes, repeatedly stabbed with pitchforks, having their tails broken, and being kicked, thrown, and punched by employees.

As a result of the investigation, a farm worker was arrested and convicted on six counts of cruelty to animals, numerous dairy suppliers ended their relationships with the facility, support was generated for a statewide animal protection initiative, and consumers nationwide learned about the dark side of dairy production.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/dairy/ Willet Dairy - New York, 2009

Calves having their tails cut off and horns burned out of their skulls without painkillers, workers hitting, kicking and shocking cows, sick and injured animals left to suffer without proper veterinary care, and cows forced to live in filthy and overcrowded sheds - these were the abuses uncovered during an MFA investigation at Willet Dairy in Locke, New York.

The investigation garnered national media attention and led to a criminal conviction on grounds of cruelty to animals, and the introduction of a bill in New York State to prohibit the cruel and unnecessary tail docking of dairy cattle.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/pigs/ Country View Family Farms - Pennsylvania, 2009

MFA's investigation at Country View Family Farms provided consumers with a jarring glimpse into the nightmarish world of pork production, documenting the standard practice of keeping thousands of pregnant pigs confined in two-feet wide metal stalls called "gestation crates" that are so small that they could only take one step forward or backward and could not turn around or lie down comfortably.

The investigation also uncovered workers tattooing sows by repeatedly driving sharp metal spikes into their flesh, tossing piglets like footballs, and neglecting sows with untreated injuries.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/hatchery/ Hy-Line Hatchery - Iowa, 2009

Hatching over 300,000 chicks each day, Hy-Line is the largest hatchery of egg-laying breed chicks in the world. An MFA investigator documented the harsh, industrial nature of today's hatchery environment - where day-old chicks are thrown, mutilated without painkillers, dropped, and neglected to die. This investigation, which sparked international outcry, revealed the standard industry practice of throwing unwanted male chicks into a grinding machine while still alive. These chicks are useless to the industry because they do not produce eggs or grow large or fast enough to be raised for meat.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/maine-eggs/ Quality Egg of New England - Maine, 2009

The largest egg farm in New England, this factory farm confines millions of brown egg-laying hens in tiny battery-cages - so restrictive that the birds can't fully spread their wings or walk freely. MFA's hidden camera footage exposed birds trapped in the wire of their cages and workers throwing live birds into trash bins and breaking their necks.

The investigation prompted the Maine Department of Agriculture and state police to raid the farm on grounds of cruelty. Grocery chains nationwide dropped the farm as an egg supplier, following MFA's expos-

As part of a landmark civil settlement, the mega-farm pleaded guilty to 10 counts of cruelty to animals, agreed to pay over $130,000 in fines and restitution, and handed over authority to the state of Maine to conduct unannounced inspections of the facility for the following five years.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/norco/ Norco Ranch - California, 2008

Just four weeks before California voters went to the polls to cast their ballots on Proposition 2 - a modest initiative requiring that egg-laying hens in the state be given enough room to walk, stand and stretch their limbs - MFA released startling footage from inside Norco Ranch, the state's largest egg producer. The video showed birds packed in cages so tightly that they could hardly move, live birds neglected on dead piles, and hens injured and trapped by cage wire.

Prop 2 passed with overwhelming support - making California the first state in the nation to ban battery-cages.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/CAEggs/ Gemperle Enterprises - California, 2008

An egg supplier to major grocery chains across the western United States, Gemperle Enterprises is one of the nation's largest egg producers. Covert footage recorded at the facility by an MFA investigator uncovered hens left to suffer from untreated injuries and infections and workers roughly cramming birds into cages, tearing birds out of cages by their fragile wings, kicking, stomping and throwing them, and hurling them into "kill carts."

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/HOR/ House of Raeford Farms - North Carolina, 2007

Working in the "live-hang" area of this massive turkey slaughterhouse (where live birds are snapped into shackles on the slaughter line), MFA's investigator secretly filmed workers throwing, punching, kicking and ripping the heads off of live birds.

The investigation also revealed conscious and thrashing turkeys having their throats slit - spotlighting the disturbing reality that birds are exempt from the federal Humane Slaughter Act.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/ofe/ Ohio Fresh Eggs - Ohio, 2004

As Ohio's largest egg factory farm, Ohio Fresh Eggs confines millions of hens in restrictive battery cages, where the birds live each day confined so tightly that they are unable to walk, spread their wings, or engage in other simple, natural behaviors. Undercover video from this facility reveals birds suffering from open wounds and infections, dead birds rotting in cages with hens still producing eggs for human consumption, live hens in trash bins, and other deplorable abuses that are commonplace in factory egg production.

Watch the undercover footage.

http://www.mercyforanimals.org/weaverbros/ Weaver Brothers Egg Farm - Ohio, 2002

A major egg producer in Ohio, Weaver Brothers Egg Farm subjects millions of hens to a life of deprivation, confinement, and neglect. Video footage recorded at this United Egg Producers' "Animal Care Certified" facility reveals hens coated in feces and packed in tiny cages, birds suffering untreated infections, corpses left to rot on cage floors, birds trapped in cage wire, and a live hen left to die in a trash bin.

Watch the undercover footage.

Going Undercover with MFA: A History of Results

Mercy For Animals has achieved major, measurable successes through our investigations. Following our first two egg farm exposés, Giant Eagle grocers pledged to boycott eggs from producers who "force molt" their hens — the practice of shocking hens into a laying cycle by depriving them of light and food. In response to the House of Raeford investigation, numerous employees were fired and Denny's restaurant chain ended its supplier relationship with the slaughterhouse.

Similarly, grocery giant Trader Joe's terminated its business relationship with California egg producer, Gemperle Enterprises, after MFA exposed the egg farm's merciless practices. After the Buckeye Veal Farm expose, Costco Wholesale committed to ending the sale of veal from producers who use a crate-and-chain production method. This policy will spare months-old calves from being chained by their necks inside individual two-feet-wide crates so small that the calves are unable to turn around, walk, lie down comfortably or clean themselves.

Recently, MFA investigations have helped pass landmark legislation; prompted one of the country's largest egg producers to move away from battery cages; led law enforcement to raid an investigated facility, resulting in a landmark civil settlement; raised international awareness of the egg industry's disturbing practice of killing unwanted male chicks by throwing them into grinding machines; and enlightened countless consumers through thousands of television, newspaper and radio stories.

Get Active: How You Can Help

  • Donate Make a tax-deductible contribution to support Mercy For Animals' life-saving work on behalf of the most abused and neglected creatures on Earth: farmed animals. Click here for information on joining MFA's monthly giving club, and click here for information on joining The Hope Society.
Become an Undercover Investigator - If rolling up your sleeves, wiring up with a hidden camera, and doing the stomach-turning work of an investigator sparks your interest, MFA wants to work with you. Contact Matt at MattR@MercyForAnimals.org.

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