Iowa’s largest pork producer has killed thousands of pigs with a gruesome mass-extermination method amid a coronavirus-fueled oversupply — slowly roasting and suffocating the animals to death, an investigation revealed Friday.
Iowa Select Farms was caught on camera using the disturbing so-called “ventilation shutdown,” where farmers close off airways to the hogs and pump hot steam into their barns overnight to slaughter them, according to The Intercept.
Footage of the practice reveals the heartbreaking cries of pigs as they succumb to death at temperatures more than 120 degrees, according to the outlet. It also reveals that some of the animals survived the horrifying ordeal while surrounded by piles of pig corpses.
“[They] shut the ventilation fans off, and heat up the building. That’s what the plan is. It’s horrific as it is,” a whistleblower told the outlet. “They’ve been euthanizing the animals, it’s been a test in a sense. Piglets were killed off in a barn with gas generators.”
The farm began using the execution method in late April to “depopulate” the pigs after meat processing plants were shut down due to the pandemic, according to the outlet, which conducted the investigation with the animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere.
The Iowa City-based pork farm did a series of torturous experiments before enacting the operation, the whistleblower said.
“The first day they shut off all the fans and turned the heat up and the hottest they could get the building was 120 degrees. After four to five hours, none of the animals were dead. There was an attempt to induce steam into the building, along with the heat and the ventilation shutdown, and that is how they ultimately perfected their VSD operation,” the whistleblower said.
Other US farms began killing newborn piglets, gassing chickens and giving sows abortions due to the coronavirus-fueled supply-and-demand nightmare in April.
The executions are a result of a wasteful and inefficient meat industry that tortures animals even in the best of times, animal rights activists have said.
Iowa Select didn’t respond to requests for comment, according to The Intercept.