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Stunning reports on hog farm cruelty at Wiles Hog Farm in Ohio

by karen dawn
DawnWatch: HBO and Time Magazine, stunning report on hog farm cruelty -- March 16-April 1, 2009
There is stunning news in the animal advocacy world, particularly for those of us who have been working in the field for years and remember the days when it was hard to find a news story that even touched on the cruelty to animals being documented by activists. This coming Monday, March 16, HBO will premier a documentary called "Death on a Factory Farm." According to the HBO synopsis, "'Death on a Factory Farm' follows the undercover investigation of Wiles Hog Farm by the animal rights group The Humane Farming Association (HFA), and the resulting court case against it." The industry magazine, "Pork," reports with apprehension that the documentary will run on HBO twenty times through till April 1.
You'll find the full schedule at -- just enter the documentary title into the search line on that page.

The Time Magazine web site currently has a terrific story on the issue -- an interview with, and photo of, 'Pete,' the undercover investigator and animal advocacy hero, who worked at the farm and videotaped the horrors. Many of us already know him from his previous undercover work that formed the basis of an earlier HBO documentary, "Dealing Dogs." The interview with Pete is on line at,8599,1883742,00.html
News outlets pay close attention to which stories get the most clicks and forwards, so please check it out and then go the bottom of the page where it says "Connect to this Time Story" and click on "Email," and email the page to all of your friends. You can also leave a comment on that page. Please do.

The HBO home page for this documentary is:
It includes links to pages where you can watch a brief preview video, read an interview with the multi award winning producers of the documentary, and read a synopsis of the film. The opening lines of the synopsis make the point that the film apparently drives home beautifully:

"Each year, ten billion animals are raised for consumption in the U.S., mostly on sprawling, industrialized farms, where virtually no federal laws mandate how the animals are treated - though guidelines exist - and state laws are ineffective. As a result, animals are frequently subjected to what many consider cruel treatment and inhumane conditions in the interest of economic efficiency."

We learn about the undercover video:
"Over the course of six weeks, Pete secretly filmed numerous disturbing scenes, including piglets being tossed into crates from across a room, impregnated sows held in pens that don't allow them to move, an unhealthy piglet being slammed against a wall to euthanize it, and a sick sow being hung by a chain from a forklift until it choked to death."

Will you forgive my turn of phrase if I write that the factory farming industry folks are crapping themselves in anticipation of this movie? (I did edit myself slightly.) The industry's general position is that the cruelty on this farm was an aberration. But while we don't yet have video from other farms of pigs being hung to death or slammed against concrete floors, some of the chronic cruelty, such as keeping the huge and intelligent animals in tiny individual pens too small to let them turn around or even lie down with their legs outstretched, is standard industry practice. Such cruelty is not limited to the pork industry -- most of us know about battery cages and veal crates, for example. Beef Magazine therefore reports at (my thanks to Mary Finelli for that link):

"For any of us the agriculture industry, this documentary sends shivers down our spines.... To put things into perspective, HBO has an estimated 35 million subscribers, and a premier program on HBO can reach between 1 to 3 percent of that audience, or about 500 thousand to 1.5 million people."


The Beef Magazine writer recommends to readers:
"I encourage all of you to tune in to this documentary, and follow up with letters of response to the producers and to HBO."

I always stress the importance of letting media outlets know how much we, the audience, appreciate their animal friendly content. With the meat industry calling for mobilization against HBO on this one, appreciative feedback from the audience becomes doubly important. Please send HBO a supersized thank you. Comments on HBO documentaries should be submitted at

You can also make sure that everybody who reads your local paper knows about the show. Some of the smaller papers publish close to 100% of letters they receive. The five minutes it takes you to send a quick note could help teach thousands of people in your area about the horrors of the modern food production system. As the show will air through the rest of the month you still have time to write now. Why not?

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

Please go to to read reviews and see a fun celeb-studded video and an NBC news piece on Karen Dawn's new book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of 2008."
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Comments (Hide Comments)
by skippy12345
The animal rights groups want to turn the United States into a vegan country. The HSUS claims the vegans will eat the grain the animals eat. The animal rights movement has a genocide agenda. The grain the animals eat are Monsanto grain. It's labeled "Unfit for Human Consumption". It is altered grain. If animals eat the grain nothing happens but if humans eat the grain death occurs. Dont buy into the HSUS genocide agenda on humans. Let the HSUS sue Monsanto, set up there spys on Monsanto.
by meat eater
I think it is easy for people to blindly jump on the animal activist bandwagon, but they still go to the grocery store & but their steaks& chops & strips& other meat products. And let's not forget the thanksgiving & christmas turkey & hams! How misguided are they that we don't teach our kids that a chicken strip is an actual chicken!! That is what is wrong with these people, they were not taoght propperly. And for them to think that the majority of farmers are given to cruelty is discriminitory to say the least. They cannot say difinitively that ALL hog farmsd are treating animals inhumanely. America has lost its way. If an activist hits a deer on the highway with their car, will they turn it in on their insurance? Isn't that an animal death that benefits a human, albeit an accident. I bet they take that ins check to the bank!
What is the diff? A human profitted from the death of an animal. Would they put out a mouse trap or rat bait to get rid of a rodent? Or call an exterminator to kill a roach infestation? If they want to pick and choose what animals they" NEED" to save, they are no better than the so called 'cruel' farmer. Someone has to feed this country!!!
by Joe 'Common' Sence
Just how do you expect to grow meat for BILLIONS of people and keep quality, consistency and quantity ? You simply CANNOT free-range livestock in these quantities. Get a life and leave your nose out of this type of business. If you want to make a diffrence, focus on businesses that move production out of this country. Try to get them to stay. That would make you a better person.
by author required ears ring with the whining of meat-eaters about how their poor tummies rumble and let the animals suffer and die - because meat-eaters just can't live without it. I mean, of course, they COULD live without it, as many of us do, but life just wouldn't be worth living without some flesh in your mouth.

Well, while some are made uncomfortable by the thought of having to live without AS MUCH flesh to eat, some of us are uncomfortable with knowing the intense suffering that is the hidden cost of having meat to eat.

And as far as the thought that hitting a deer is equivalent to factory-farming, I mean, really, did you think that one through before you clicked on the submit button?
by meateater
I would really think that as much as you people are about freedom of speech and freedom of choice, that you would be rallying to take ours away!! We don't try to shove our way of life down your throat, so why would you do it to us?
Atleast us meateaters have the common courtesy to euthanize our food before we eat it!!!!! Do you think your bean sprouts feel it every time you take a bite out of them? They are alive, afterall, when you are chewing them up & digesting them! Or don't you believe that ALL living things have feelings, or does that only apply to food with a face?
And by the way, I don't want flesh in my mouth, I want it in my stomach & intestines & colon!
by Karen Dawn
I cant believe what I just watched on the HBO docu. Wiles Hog Farm. I just could not STOP CRYING. I could not believe this town could sit in the court room, and have know concern for these animals. That farm should be shut down. shame on them. dam hillbilies.
by Sandi Hansen
I have lived on my cousins farm during the summers as I grew up. They had chickens for eggs and meat. Steers and cows for milk ,meat and 4H fairs to sell . Hogs for piglets and meat. I held a chicken down on the chopping block so we could have it for dinner.
There is death on farms for reasons. But untill that time comes they were all treated humanely. They were all killed swiftly. The Wiles Family enjoyed the pain of smashing piglets against walls.
The hogs were eating other downed hogs. And later they would go to slaughter. Now isnt that how "Mad Cow Dieasese" started. We eat pork that is full of so many different antibiotics because of the filthy conditions in places like Wiles Farm in Ohio...
The world has changed, no respect for life, animals ,other people. Nice place.
by Nancy
I can not believe the conditions and the inhuman treatment of these animals. These people at this hog farm were the lowest of the low. These guys actually taking pleasure in subjecting these creatures to such deplorabel conditions, trama (taking the piglets away from their mothers) and nothing short of torture for these animals. I believe, after seeing this, that there can be on this earth no cruler animal walking than a human being. To watch these people being so uncaring of a creature is beyond my imagination. They simply can not have a heart. To hang an animal is not a human way of putting it down. Anyone that believes so needs to have the same done to them. As I watched the court proceeding I actually thought something would be imposed on these discusting farmers. I have never been so disappointed in the outcome. The judge could not impose anything under the written law, but what kept him for giving them a ream job at the very least. How sad we are as a race to sit back and do nothing. I've not problem with raising animals for slauter, but why can't we do this in a fashion far better than this. I would love to meet one of these people face to face (The Wiles and the skinny punk working there), so I could spit in their faces. Let's go to the acceptable killing of piglets by smashing them against a wall. Oh my dear God in Heaven, that is just sick. I'm come to the conclusion that most everyone in that courtroom must be the same breed as the Wiles. What a discusting community it must be. I wish everyone would stop eating pork and put these folks out of business. I am now going to be the first to do so.
The world has changed, no respect for life, animals ,other people. Nice place.
by Meat Eater
first of all I do eat meat..I eat deer,beef and hog almost everyday..I enjoy is part of life to eat what the good lord has given us to sustain our own lives...but I do believe that the people providing this food source should feel a responsibilty to treat the animals with humanity..even if the stock is in mass quantities..there is just no excuse for this sort of behavior in this day and age..the Wiles farm family enjoyed torturing these could actually see the glee in their eyes...and granted this is not the only case..and maybe this is the way people have preformed these tasks for years and years..but hell we are supposed to be a civilized nation now..there are so many other ways and options now -that it makes the actions of the Wiles family barbaric....there is just no excuse for this sort of thing to be happening...I understand that this is how some people make their living..I have been on farms for most of my 30 years and I have never seen this sort of treatment...people that do this sort of thing and feel that it is okay will get can not do this sort of thing and not be punished in some form...if I were a member of that community..I can promise you that their business would not thrive ..
by nomoremeat4me
The actions observed on the Wiles hog farm made me sick. These people are a disgrace to the human race and should be euthanized with the same compassion they show their livestock
by Ron Meyer
I hear people screaming about animal cruelty, yet in this country human babies are killed daily up to 9 weeks of pregnancy and higher.

Yet there is no out cry from the people of the United States. We continue to elect officials who believe in abortion.

Where is the out cry of this terrible genocide???
by margaret (magjscully [at]
I have become a vegetarian after watching the cruelly of these sweet pigs, I appreciate the uncover story keep up the good work.
by Meat eater
Oh my god, we need to let stupid ignorant backwoods over multiplying idiots like the Wiles family and his stupid lawyer die off and thin out the population so their kind of thinking is no longer in the gene pool.....stupid money hungry people shouldn't breed or you wind up with the ugly screwed up country we live in!!!!!!
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