FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Life and Times of a Hog-Hanging Farmer

by MARTHA ROSENBERG

The videotaped hanging of a sow from a skid loader with a logging chain has divided farming communities in Northeast Ohio, hog farmers and veterinarians.

Ken Wiles, owner of the 6,000-animal Wiles hog farm near Creston where the incident occurred last year says he’s been “euthanizing” hogs this way for 40 years.

In a June trial in Wayne County in which he and Dusty Stroud, a hog farm employee, were found not guilty on all cruelty charges brought–son, Joe Wiles, was found guilty of improperly handling piglets and fined $250–Wiles told veterinarian Donald Sander it’s the way Utah executes criminals.

But viewers of the video–portions of which were shown on at least one Cleveland-area television station multiple times–saw a convulsing animal suffering for a full five minutes in the kind of agony euthanasia is supposed to stop not cause.

The Wiles hog farm was raided in November on the basis of undercover footage shot over more than a year by John Knoldt, (a.k.a. Chris Parrett) an investigator for the Humane Farming Association who gained employment at Wiles hog farm after being tipped off to abuses by Ingrid DiMarino, a farm employee.

Also documented by the nonprofit CA-based advocacy group were hogs falling through broken floor slats into manure pits, being buried alive and killed with hammers and piglets slaughtered by having their heads bashed against the wall.

Ohio State University veterinarian Donald Sanders who attended the raid and testified for the prosecution called hanging sows “abhorrent” as did the Ohio Pork Producers Council.

But swine veterinarian Paul Armbrecht testifying for the defense said hanging was a “practical method to euthanize an animal.”

Of course the public is growing used to exposes of factory farming taped by undercover employees by now–replete with dead piles, sadistic mutilation and neglect. Employees at poultry processor House of Raeford in North Carolina which supplies Arby’s and Denny’s were recently filmed shoving their fists into birds’ cavities to remove eggs which they threw at each other. And laying hens were filmed impaled on battery cage wires at Esbenshade Farms in Mt. Joy, PA–events which Judge Jayne F. Duncan ruled not cruelty in June.

Factory farm operators typically dispute the findings–why weren’t the violations present when inspectors were there?–try to find bad apples and vow to sin no more, all the while watching their stock price.

But others, like House of Raeford, Esbenshade Farms and Tyson Foods swiftboat the humane investigators demanding to know why they didn’t stop the cruelty if it was so bad and implying that they staged or even caused the documented incidents.

Ken Wiles actually blamed the animals’ deprivation of food and water and the floors and crates caked with urine and fecal material that he is charged with on the 10 hours his farm was locked down during the raid.

(He also says investigator John Knoldt was trying to “kill him and his family.” )

But how do you defend a hanging?

Well, the alternative, shooting could be dangerous Earl Miller, a dairy farmer from Dalton, told the Wooster Daily Record at Wiles’ acquittal–because of the “cement inside the barns” and the risk of bullets ricocheting.

And even if bullets are more humane, “No one likes to hear guns firing 20 times each day,” posts Mary on the Daily Record’s web site.

Besides, the employees on the Wiles hog farm COULDN’T shoot the animals confesses Ken Wiles–suddenly law abiding–because they are convicted felons and not allowed to use weapons!

But even these answers don’t explain why workers actually taunted the animals while they were struggling and thought the whole sequence funny.

“One of them goes around and grabs the hog as it’s hanging there and hugs it” to mock an upset employee who was watching says Bob Baker, who filmed the event. “These poor animals are hanging there suffocating.”

Euthanasia means mercy killing but animals need mercy from these “farmers.”

MARTHA ROSENBERG is staff cartoonist on the Evanston Roundtable. She can be reached at mrosenberg@evmark.org

 

 

Martha Rosenberg is an investigative health reporter. She is the author of  Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health (Prometheus).

Weekend Edition
April 29, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What is the Democratic Party Good For? Absolutely Nothing
Roberto J. González – David Price
Anthropologists Marshalling History: the American Anthropological Association’s Vote on the Academic Boycott of Israeli Institutions
Robert Jacobs
Hanford, Not Fukushima, is the Big Radiological Threat to the West Coast
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
US Presidential Election: Beyond Lesser Evilism
Dave Lindorff
The Push to Make Sanders the Green Party’s Candidate
Ian Fairlie
Chernobyl’s Ongoing Toll: 40,000 More Cancer Deaths?
Pete Dolack
Verizon Sticks it to its Workers Because $45 Billion isn’t Enough
Richard Falk
If Obama Visits Hiroshima
Margaret Kimberley
Dishonoring Harriet Tubman
Deepak Tripathi
The United States, Britain and the European Union
Peter Linebaugh
Marymount, Haymarket, Marikana: a Brief Note Towards ‘Completing’ May Day
Eva Golinger
My Country, My Love: a Conversation with Gerardo and Adriana of the Cuban Five
Moshe Adler
May Day: a Trade Agreement to Unite Third World and American Workers
Vijay Prashad
Political Violence in Honduras
Paul Krane
Where Gun Control Ought to Start: Disarming the Police
David Anderson
Al Jazeera America: Goodbye to All That Jazz
Rob Hager
Platform Perversity: More From the Campaign That Can’t Strategize
Pat Williams
FDR in Montana
Dave Marsh
Every Day I Read the Book (the Best Music Books of the Last Year)
David Rosen
Job Satisfaction Under Perpetual Stagnation
John Feffer
Big Oil isn’t Going Down Without a Fight
Murray Dobbin
The Canadian / Saudi Arms Deal: More Than Meets the Eye?
Gary Engler
The Devil Capitalism
Brian Cloughley
Is Washington Preparing for War Against Russia?
Manuel E. Yepe
The Big Lies and the Small Lies
Robert Fantina
Vice Presidents, Candidates and History
Mel Gurtov
Sanctions and Defiance in North Korea
Howard Lisnoff
Still the Litmus Test of Worth
Dean Baker
Big Business and the Overtime Rule: Irrational Complaints
Ulrich Heyden
Crimea as a Paradise for High-Class Tourism?
Ramzy Baroud
Did the Arabs Betray Palestine? – A Schism between the Ruling Classes and the Wider Society
Halyna Mokrushyna
The War on Ukrainian Scientists
Joseph Natoli
Who’s the Better Neoliberal?
Ron Jacobs
The Battle at Big Brown: Joe Allen’s The Package King
Wahid Azal
Class Struggle and Westoxication in Pahlavi Iran: a Review of the Iranian Series ‘Shahrzad’
David Crisp
After All These Years, Newspapers Still Needed
Graham Peebles
Hungry and Frightened: Famine in Ethiopia 2016
Robert Koehler
Opening the Closed Political Culture
Missy Comley Beattie
Waves of Nostalgia
Thomas Knapp
The Problem with Donald Trump’s Version of “America First”
Georgina Downs
Hillsborough and Beyond: Establishment Cover Ups, Lies & Corruption
Jeffrey St. Clair
Groove on the Tracks: the Magic Left Hand of Red Garland
Ben Debney
Kush Zombies: QELD’s Hat Tip to Old School Hip Hop
Charles R. Larson
Moby Dick on Steroids?
David Yearsley
Miles Davis: Ace of Baseness
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail