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Agriculture

The Undercover Animal Cruelty Videos that Spurred Big Ag's Censorship Crusade

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Fri, May 24, 2013 at 6:00 AM

hatfield-quality-meats.jpg
Photo courtesy of Mercy for Animals
One of the nearly 3,000 pigs at Country View Family Farms in Fannettsburg, Pennsylvania. The far mis a supplier for Hatfield Quality Meats, which is sold in twelve Northeastern states.
This week's story, "The Ag Gag War," goes behind the scenes of the guerilla fight between animal rights groups and Big Agriculture.

For years organizations like the Humane Society and Mercy for Animals have being going undercover at America's largest farms, using hidden cameras to show exactly how our food is produced. The footage hasn't been pretty.

Time after time they've caught workers beating and torturing livestock. So Big Ag returned fire, introducing bills in more than a dozen states that would criminalize undercover filming on farms.

What follows are the videos that spurred Big Ag's censorship campaign:

Willet Dairy, New York

Mercy for Animals caught employees kicking and shocking animals that wouldn't bend to their will. Supervisor Phil Niles is heard recounting an abuser's greatest hits: How he beat cows with wrenches, smashed their heads with two-by-fours, kicked them when they were too feeble to rise.

"Fucking kicking her, hitting her," he chortles while recalling one incident. "Fucking jumping off the top of the goddamned gate and stomping on her head and shit."

Rose Acre Farms, Iowa

Humane Society investigator Cody Carlson went undercover at the nation's second-largest egg producer with nearly five million chickens.

His video showed hens packed into cages the size of a filing drawer, where each creature spent life in a space with the dimensions of a single sheet of paper.

Carlson's job was to cull the dead, the 100 or so hens whose wings and feet became caught in the caging, leaving them to die of thirst or be trampled to death by their cellmates each day.

On the next page, see the video that made it illegal to expose animal abuse in Iowa.

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