Thousands of pigs were roasted alive in gruesome 'mass extermination' at 'ethical' Iowa pork farm, investigation reveals

Moya Lothian-McLean@moya_lm
Monday 01 June 2020 11:00
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(iStock)

Thousands of pigs have been “roasted” to death by Iowa’s biggest pig farm after becoming “worthless” because of the coronavirus pandemic.

An investigation by The Intercept revealed that Iowa Select Farms has adopted a mass extermination method called “ventilation shutdown” to “depopulate” pig barns.

It involves pig farmers shutting off airways to the barns and pumping hot steam into them overnight, essentially roasting pigs to death via an intense increase in heat and humidity.

Graphic recordings reveal the anguished cries of pigs inside as they slowly die. Those that managed to survive the slaughter were killed the next morning via bolt guns.

A whistleblower reported how the brutal execution method was “perfected” by Select Farms:

They shut the pit pans off, shut the ventilation fans off, and heat up the building. That’s what the plan is. It’s horrific as it is. It was first used on test cull sows: those were first given the VSD treatment. 

The first day they shut off all the fans and turned the heat up and the hottest they could get the building was 120 degrees. After four to five hours, none of the animals were dead. There was an attempt to induce steam into the building, along with the heat and the ventilation shutdown, and that is how they ultimately perfected their VSD operation.

Every time they’ve been euthanising the animals, it’s been a test in a sense. Piglets were killed off in a barn with gas generators.

According to reports, the practice began in late April after meat processing plants across the US were shut down as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pig breeders were left with ‘excess stock’ and with slaughterhouses closed, mass killings at farms have become “commonplace”.

Two million animals in the US were reported as having been “culled” at the end of April as a result of the pandemic.

And the methods being used to do so have been slammed been slammed as “torture” by animal rights activists and the public alike.

Iowa Select brands itself as an ethical pig farm, claiming on its website that it:

believe[s] by taking care of our animals, people, environment and communities we will achieve our mission of producing pork, responsibly.

The company did not respond to The Intercept’s requests for comment, although it admitted its use of VSD in an industry newsletter.

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