The animal protection group Mercy for Animals has released an undercover investigation into the suffering of pigs in a Nebraska farm while issuing a call to action to oppose the EATS Act
Los Angeles, August 18, 2023 — The California-based animal protection organization Mercy for Animals (MfA) just released a new exposé of yet another pig farm, this one in Nebraska. The investigation documents extreme suffering by mother pigs kept in crates barely larger than their bodies, as is standard in US pig factory farms. The most obvious and straightforward solution to the torment suffered by these pigs is for Americans to stop eating them. As Mercy for Animals works toward that goal, it’s also urging animal lovers to fight the EATS Act by clicking here to quickly auto-send a letter to their US Senators and their member of Congress.
What is the EATS Act?
The EATS Act, being pushed by pro-meat/dairy industry lawmakers, would wipe out numerous state laws that ban different aspects of animal agriculture. For instance, it could wipe out California’s Prop 12, intended to ban the sale of meat from animals kept in extreme confinement, like the pig gestation crates exposed in the recent MfA investigation.
UnchainedTV’s Jane Velez-Mitchell spoke with Alex Cragun, a representative of Mercy for Animals, to find out more about their investigation and their lobbying efforts. You can watch the entire conversation here:
Extreme Confinement: the Norm in US Pig Farms
Alex Cragun is the Director of Mercy For Animals’ Government Affairs and Public Policy (GAPP) team in the United States and joined Mercy For Animals in August 2022. Alex has more than a decade of experience in nonprofit government affairs, public policy design, grassroots organizing and campaign management. He explains the investigation, which was featured in the New York Times:
“This investigation happened in the fall of 2022 in Nebraska, and it was over the course of a number of months recording and documenting the abuse and the atrocities that are happening there. What is unfortunate — and this would be considered fairly standard industry practice with regard to the treatment of pigs — is pigs not having the ability to freely move.”
The investigators alleged they obtained evidence of mother pigs collapsed for hours in their own waste, often dehydrated, sometimes suffering prolonged, painful deaths after being repeatedly forced through labor during their short lives. In that farm, and most others, pregnancies are spent in solitary confinement in cramped gestation crates — metal cages barely larger than their bodies — where they develop abnormal behaviors from being too restricted to lie down comfortably or even turn around.
Investigations like this one, which show the nightmarish reality of pig production in the United States, should lead consumers to stop eating animal products. There are numerous, plant-based alternatives to bacon, hot dogs and deli slices that are becoming increasingly sophisticated at mimicking the taste of meat. However, the latest data shows that Americans eat an annual 66.18 pounds of pork per capita. U.S. Census data and the Simmons National Consumer Study found that 268 million Americans ate bacon in 2020.
“I think there is an absolutely critical function of investigation. We are the ears and eyes of the public and they need to be aware of these things” — Alex Cragun, Mercy for Animals
MFA Says The EATS Act Is Very Dangerous & Must Be Stopped
When US states began passing laws restricting the conditions in which animals could be exploited in farms, such as California’s Prop 12 which was recently upheld by the US Supreme Court, the animal agricultural industry began campaigning, at the federal level, to get rid of all of this type of state legislation. That, even though enforcement of these propositions – voted into law by well-intentioned consumers – are rarely enforced and can even have the unintended effect of giving Americans a false sense of confidence that the cruelty issues have been resolved. Clearly, cruelty continues to be rampant and the norm in America’s factory farming industry.
The EATS Act has come in a variety of forms over the last couple of legislative cycles. Initially, it was called the King Amendment, which former Rep. Steve King (R-IA) tried unsuccessfully to include in the 2014 and 2018 Farm Bills. Then was rebranded as the Ending Agricultural Trade Suppression (EATS) Act, and then reintroduced most recently in Congress by Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS) and Congresswoman Ashley Henson (R-IA). Cragun explains what the EATS Act is intended to do:
“It does two things: One, it eliminates the state’s authorities and localities to regulate what they refer to as pre-harvest agricultural activities, so anything that is on farms. It removes that authority from states moving forward. The second thing it does is that it establishes a mechanism in which individual actors, organizations, can challenge state laws if they believe that it would inhibit their ability to engage in interstate commerce.”
MFA Says Oppose EATS Act & Support Cory Booker’s IAA Act
MfA is urging citizens to contact their representatives to urge them to vote against the EATS Act or any legislation that would restrict states from regulating farm activities as part of the Farm Bill. Instead, MfA says that representatives should support the Industrial Agriculture Accountability Act, sponsored by Senator Cory Booker and Representative Jim McGovern.
“Our goal is to make the EATS Act untenable and unpopular, seen as not a viable policy option for Congress to put into the Farm Bill.” — Alex Cragun, Mercy for Animals
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Jordi Casmitjana is a vegan zoologist and author.