Hormel supplier suspended as video depicting ‘pure hell’ surfaces

Hormel makes a large range of meat-based food products, including Saggs sausages

Pork giant Hormel Foods has stopped taking pigs from its Oklahoma-based supplier after an undercover video showed farmers ripping the testicles off piglets in flagrant abuse of welfare standards.

The video, from animal rights group Mercy for Animals, captured undercover footage at a Maschhoffs LLC farm in Oklahoma, US, depicting what the advocacy body described as “pure hell”.

Hormel has launched an investigation and said it will not “tolerate any violation” of its strict supplier code of conduct. On 31 January, the meat processor suspended all of Maschhoffs’ Oklahoma sow operations while a “thorough investigation” got underway.

The business sent certified third-party auditors to the Oklahoma farms and other Maschhoffs sites to ensure the animal welfare standards Hormel expects are at all times adhered to by suppliers.


Investigation underway

Maschhoffs LLC is cooperating with the investigation and Bradley Wolter, president of Maschhoffs, has launched a full-scale investigation of his own.

Any animal care deficiencies discovered will be addressed in the quickest manner possible,” he said in a statement on 31 January.

We view animal care as a continuous-improvement process. We will continue to make investments to further our animal care standards in the future. Properly caring for our animals is of the utmost importance,” Wolter added.


Mounting pressure

Since the undercover sting, Maschhoffs has committed to retrain all Oklahoma employees on good production practices. It will also force every farm manager to review the video to understand the responsibility that comes with good animal care.

The undercover video also depicted sows in gestation crates – a metal too small for a pig to move in – and Hormel is working to do away from this system.

Much of the US pork industry is moving to free farrowing and gestation crate-free systems, after bowing to mounting pressure to animal rights groups.

By 2018 Hormel hopes company-owned farmed will be gestation crate-free.

Maschhoffs – at a glance

Maschhoffs has been in the hog production business for over 100 years and is America’s largest family-owned pig producer, with farms and sites across nine US states. Each year the company rears enough pigs to provide pork for 16 million homes.

Related News

Livestock caked in excrement. Image courtesy of Eurogroup for Animals

Investigation reveals ‘horrific’ export of livestock ‘tortured’ in the Middle East

The need to reduce tail cutting was highlighted in the report

New Zealand: Animal welfare body airs ‘concerns’

Paul Fox is renowned as a turnaround expert in the industry

Top hog firm hires ex-Tyson Foods vice-president

Tail docking - the removal of a pig's tail - is a area of welfare contention

Meat processors show leadership in animal welfare

Contactless and cashless payment will continue to grow in popularity in 2017

Food trend predictions for 2017

Related Products

See more related products

Submit a comment

Your comment has been saved

Post a comment

Please note that any information that you supply is protected by our Privacy and Cookie Policy. Access to all documents and request for further information are available to all users at no costs, In order to provide you with this free service, William Reed Business Media SAS does share your information with companies that have content on this site. When you access a document or request further information from this site, your information maybe shared with the owners of that document or information.