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

 

 

More articles by:

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).

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

June 22, 2017
Jason Hirthler
Invisible Empire Beneath the Radar, Above Suspicion
Ken Levy
Sorry, But It’s Entirely the Right’s Fault
John Laforge
Fukushima’s Radiation Will Poison Food “for Decades,” Study Finds
Ann Garrison
Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour Party, and the UK’s Socialist Surge
Phillip Doe
Big Oil in the Rocky Mountain State: the Overwhelming Tawdriness of Government in Colorado
Howard Lisnoff
The Spiritual Death of Ongoing War
Stephen Cooper
Civilized, Constitution-Loving Californians Will Continue Capital Punishment Fight
Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla
Cuba Will Not Bow to Trump’s Threats
Ramzy Baroud
Israel vs. the United Nations: The Nikki Haley Doctrine
Tyler Wilch
The Political Theology of US Drone Warfare
Colin Todhunter
A Grain of Truth: RCEP and the Corporate Hijack of Indian Agriculture
Robert Koehler
When the Detainee is American…
Jeff Berg
Our No Trump Contract
Faiza Shaheen
London Fire Fuels Movement to Challenge Inequality in UK
Rob Seimetz
Sorry I Am Not Sorry: A Letter From Millennials to Baby Boomers
June 21, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
Resist This: the United States is at War With Syria
James Ridgeway
Good Agent, Bad Agent: Robert Mueller and 9-11
Diana Johnstone
The Single Party French State … as the Majority of Voters Abstain
Ted Rall
Democrats Want to Lose the 2020 Election
Kathy Kelly
“Would You Like a Drink of Water?” Please Ask a Yemeni Child
Russell Mokhiber
Sen. Joe Manchin Says “No” to Single-Payer, While Lindsay Graham Floats Single-Payer for Sick People
Ralph Nader
Closing Democracy’s Doors Until the People Open Them
Binoy Kampmark
Barclays in Hot Water: The Qatar Connection
Jesse Jackson
Trump Ratchets Up the Use of Guns, Bombs, Troops, and Insults
N.D. Jayaprakash
No More Con Games: Abolish Nuclear Weapons Now! (Part Four)
David Busch
The Kingdom of Pence–and His League of Flaming Demons–is Upon Us
Stephen Cooper
How John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle” Helps Us Navigate Social Discord
Madis Senner
The Roots of America’s Identity and Our Political Divide are Buried Deep in the Land
June 20, 2017
Ajamu Baraka
The Body Count Rises in the U.S. War Against Black People
Gary Leupp
Russia’s Calm, But Firm, Response to the US Shooting Down a Syrian Fighter Jet
Maxim Nikolenko
Beating Oliver Stone: the Media’s Spin on the Putin Interviews
Michael J. Sainato
Philando Castile and the Self Righteous Cloak of White Privilege
John W. Whitehead
The Militarized Police State Opens Fire
Peter Crowley
The Groundhog Days of Terrorism
Norman Solomon
Behind the Media Surge Against Bernie Sanders
Pauline Murphy
Friedrich Engels: a Tourist In Ireland
David Swanson
The Unifying Force of War Abolition
Louisa Willcox
Senators Bernie Sanders, Cory Booker, Tom Udall Back Tribes in Grizzly Fight
John Stanton
Mass Incarceration, Prison Labor in the United States
Robert Fisk
Did Trump Denounce Qatar Over Failed Business Deals?
Medea Benjamin
America Will Regret Helping Saudi Arabia Bomb Yemen
Brian Addison
Los Angeles County Data Shows Startling Surge in Youth, Latino Homelessness
Native News Online
Betraying Indian Country: How Grizzly Delisting Exposes Trump and Zinke’s Assault on Tribal Sovereignty and Treaty Rights
Stephen Martin
A Tragic Inferno in London Reflects the Terrorism of the Global Free Market
Debadityo Sinha
Think Like a River
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail