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The Wall Street Journal reports that an organization called Mercy for Animals has released a video that includes “gory footage secretly recorded at an Iowa pork-supplier farm,” showing “pigs mutilated and restricted in cages too small to turn around in, and workers tossing and ‘thumping’ piglets - smashing their skulls against cement.”

Kroger, which is one of the retailers supplied by the company, Iowa Select Farms, immediately halted purchases from the farm pending further investigation.

Mercy for Animals said that the video was shot by an employee who went undercover there for two months, shooting conditions with a pinhole camera.

Iowa Select put out a statement saying that it is investigating potential abuse and has "zero tolerance for violations of our animal welfare policies."

The Columbus Dispatch reports that “Howard Hill, a veterinarian and the company's director of external affairs, said Iowa Select was looking into the video but thinks the recording gave an inaccurate picture of its operation.”

Ironically, the Journal writes, the video was released as Iowa state lawmakers consider a bill that would “criminalize such undercover investigations.”

The Journal continues: “Democratic Sen. Tom Rielly, who introduced the Senate bill, said the video released Wednesday ‘is exactly why we need a bill like this.’ He contended parts of the video were staged to advance the group's agenda.

“‘They'd like people not to eat eggs, hamburgers, bacon,’ he said. The group is ‘creating these salacious images to put this important industry to Iowa in a bad light’.”

Mercy for Animals contends that nothing in the video was staged.
KC's View:
Forgive me for a bit of Thursday morning crankiness, but Sen Tom Rielly is full of it.

Criminalizing such undercover investigations is not the answer. (While I’m not a lawyer, it is hard to imagine such a law holding up in a Supreme Court that says First Amendment rights include selling violent video games to young kids. Then again, you never know.)

It seems perfectly logical to criminalize the making of such videos that inaccurately and blatantly spread untruths about a company. in fact, I think there are such laws in existence.

In addition, Rielly implies that it is only radical animals rights advocates that are behind such videos. But for the record, I eat ham, bacon, and pork chops. I am the farthest thing from a radical animal rights activist. But I think that this kind of crap is abhorrent, a kind of random and casual cruelty exercised by people with small minds and smaller hearts.

(Rielly also ought to look up the word “salacious” before he uses it in public statement. I’m pretty sure that isn’t what he meant ... or, if it is, maybe someone ought to start looking into his personal life and preferences.)

But if Iowa Select - or any of its employees - are found to be guilty of horrific behavior, then the appropriate people ought to be held accountable. And legislators ought to start protecting the things that need protecting, not the companies that make political contributions to their campaigns.

And let me take this a step further. Maybe, as punishment if anyone is found to be guilty of this atrocity, they ought to be subjected to a little “thumping” themselves.