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).

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

January 17, 2017
John Pilger
The Issue is Not Trump. It is Us
John K. White
Is Equality Overrated, Too?
Michael J. Sainato
The DNC Hands the Democratic Party Over to David Brock and Billionaire Donors
John Davis
Landscapes of Shame: America’s National Parks
Andrew Smolski
Third Coast Pillory: Politicians and Rhetorical Tricks
Chris Busby
The Scientific Hero of Chernobyl: Alexey V. Yablokov, the Man Who Dared to Speak the Truth
David Macaray
Four Reasons Trump Will Quit
Chet Richards
The Vicissitudes of the Rural South
Clancy Sigal
“You Don’t Care About Jobs”: Why the Democrats Lost
Robert Dodge
Martin Luther King and U.S. Politics: Time for a U.S. Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Jack Sadat Lee
I Dream of Justice for All the Animal Kingdom
James McEnteer
Mourning Again in America
January 16, 2017
Paul Street
How Pure is Your Hate?
Jeffrey St. Clair - Alexander Cockburn
Did the Elites Have Martin Luther King Jr. Killed?
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Clobbers Ocean Life
Patrick Cockburn
The Terrifying Parallels Between Trump and Erdogan
Kenneth Surin
The Neoliberal Stranglehold on the American Public University
Lawrence Davidson
Is There a Future for the Democratic Party?
Douglas Valentine
Who Killed MLK Jr?
Robert Fisk
The Foreign Correspondent in the Age of Twitter and Trump
Dale Bryan
“Where Do We Go from Here?”
David Swanson
The Deep State Wants to Deep Six Us
Dan Bacher
Obama Administration Orders Speedy Completion of Delta Tunnels Plan
Mark Weisbrot
Obama Should Make Sure that Haitian Victims of UN-Caused Cholera are Compensated
Winslow Myers
The Light of the World
Bruce Mastron
My Latest Reason to Boycott the NFL: Guns
Weekend Edition
January 13, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Gregory Elich
Did the Russians Really Hack the DNC?
Jeffrey St. Clair
The President Who Wasn’t There: Barack Obama’s Legacy of Impotence
Anthony DiMaggio
Ethics Fiasco: Trump, Divestment and the Perversion of Executive Politics
Joshua Frank
Farewell Obummer, Hello Golden Showers
Paul Street
Hit the Road, Barack: Some Farewell Reflections
Vijay Prashad
After Aleppo: the State of Syria
John Wight
Russia Must be Destroyed: John McCain and the Case of the Dodgy Dossier
Rob Urie
Meet the Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
The Russian Dossier Reminds Me of the Row Over Saddam’s WMDs
Eric Sommer
U.S.-China War: a Danger Hidden from the American People
Andrew Levine
Are Democrats Still the Lesser Evil?
Linda Pentz Gunter
What’s Really Behind the Indian Point Nuclear Deal?
Robert Fantina
Trucks, ‘Terror’ and Israel
Richard Moser
Universal Values are Revolutionary Values
Russell Mokhiber
Build the Bagdikian Wall: “Sponsored News” at the Washington Post
Yoav Litvin
Establishment Narcissism – The Democrats’ Game of Thrones
David Rosen
Return of the Repressed: Trump & the Revival of the Culture Wars
Robert Koehler
War Consciousness and the F-35
Rev. William Alberts
The New Smell of McCarthyism Demands Faith Leaders Speak Truth to Power
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail