The whistleblower has provided horrific details about the methods now being employed to kill pigs, agonizingly and over the course of many hours, in increasingly large numbers.
GLENN GREENWALD: Iowa’s largest pork producer, Iowa Select Farms, has been using a cruel and excruciating method to kill thousands of pigs that have become commercially worthless due to the coronavirus pandemic. As is true for so much of what the agricultural industry does, the company’s gruesome extermination of sentient animals that are emotionally complex and intelligent has been conducted entirely out of public view.
But The Intercept, as the result of an investigation by animal rights group Direct Action Everywhere, or DxE, has obtained video footage of the procedure and the resulting carnage that occurred at one of the company’s facilities in mid-May. Additionally, a whistleblower employed by Iowa Select has provided extensive details to The Intercept about the extraordinary methods now being employed to kill pigs — agonizingly and over the course of many hours — in increasingly large numbers.
What prompted both the DxE investigation and the whistleblower to come forward is Iowa Select’s recent adoption of the mass-extermination method known as “ventilation shutdown,” or VSD. Under this method, pigs at the company’s rural Grundy County facility are being “depopulated,” using the industry’s jargon, by sealing off all airways to their barns and inserting steam into them, intensifying the heat and humidity inside and leaving them to die overnight. Most pigs — though not all — die after hours of suffering from a combination of being suffocated and roasted to death.
The recordings obtained by The Intercept include audio of the piercing cries of pigs as they succumb. The recordings also show that some pigs manage to survive the ordeal — but, on the morning after, Iowa Select dispatches armed workers to enter the barn to survey the mound of pig corpses for any lingering signs of life, and then use their bolt guns to extinguish any survivors.
The whistleblower told The Intercept that when Iowa Select began using the ventilation shutdown method in late April, it first experimented on a smaller group of hogs by just shutting off the airways into their barn and turning up the heat. Other employees told similar stories to DxE investigators. After those experiments failed — the oxygen-deprived pigs survived over the course of many hours, the whistleblower said, due to a failure to increase the heat to fatal levels — Iowa Select decided to begin injecting steam into the barns, to accelerate the accumulation of heat and humidity. SOURCE…