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Breaking News on Iowa Pig Farm Investigation

Written by PETA | January 22, 2009

We have just learned that Shawn Matthew Lyons, one of the men caught abusing pigs during our investigation of an Iowa pig farm, pleaded guilty to one count of livestock neglect. This charge was filed after authorities reviewed our investigators’ video, which showed Lyons beating a pig on the back at least 10 times with a metal gate rod.

According to court records posted today, Lyons has been ordered to pay a fine of $625—the maximum permitted by law—and an additional $250 in court costs and surcharges. Lyons has been placed on probation for six months, during which time he is prohibited from working with any animals. All convicted animal abusers should be barred from contact with animals, and we commend prosecutor Nic Martino for securing this vital sentencing condition.

To our knowledge, Lyons is the first individual ever convicted of abusing or neglecting a factory-farmed pig in Iowa, the nation’s top pork-producing state. His conviction sends yet another wake-up call to the pork industry: Cruelty to pigs will not be tolerated by the public or the criminal justice system. And you never know where our undercover investigators will turn up next …

Written by Christine Doré

Commenting is closed.
  • Steve D says:

    What is sad and what most people do not know is that pigs are more intelligent than most of our pets.  They are highly intelligent.  It is a sad society we live in in the USA.

    650 Bucks is a WEAK maximum penalty.  If I were a judge and could I would give 25 years in prison.

    We should adopt meat labeling like Canada, meat that is cruelty free proudly labels as such.

  • monica says:

    is this the horrendous hog farm called smithfield that is discussed in the novel EATING amazing read btw.

  • Cara says:

    thats great!! Pigs should have the right to live too. why cant the whole world just be vegan?? But anyway i’m glad he got prison time. peace to all living things

  • Jud T. says:

    …PLUS he should have been hit 10 times on his back with a metal rod.

  • rojo says:

    derek finding it difficult to get my posts published sorry. since you started the off post comment perhaps you can categorically state that no benefit to CF sufferers can ever come from animal testing. cheers

  • lynda downie says:

    Deep felt thanks to Peta investigators. Yes it’s a step in the right direction and I’m grateful that the judge found Lyons guilty but “guilty of livestock ‘neglect’ ” hardly describes beating a pig at least 10 times on the back with a metal gate rod.

  • rafael ramirez says:

    the court peopl should of gave him more time.and they should of made him give them more they should of hit him how he hit the pig.thanks for the great job!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • MA Moore says:


  • Dominique says:

    I currently am eating meat but after watching this video at school mind you I am OFF meat! Oh and the candy that tests on animals. I am pressuring everyone else to join me. Thank you so VERY much for the wake up call! Oh and I live in Nebraska to think that was happening a few minutes away!!

  • Derek, MD says:

    rojo As a physician who has taken care of patients with CF I know hows horrible the disease is and how young of children it can kill. That however does not justify the use of animal testing. Since this is off topic I will not spend additional time enlightening you to the truth behind the cruelty and ineffectiveness of animal testing.

  • Elazanna says:

    Good step forward! Well done everyone involved.

  • Steve says:

    Way to go Peta! Keep up the good work!

  • karen says:

    Let’s hope this is just the beginning

  • Caroline says:

    Let’s hope this is the beginning of justice for all living creatures and that all the other factory farm abuse will not be a free for all without consequence. THANK YOU PETA! YOU ARE SHINING A LIGHT ON THE BARBARIC TORTURE THAT GOES ON EVERYDAY AS “PART OF THE JOB”. THANK YOU!

  • Alice Fraser says:

    All he got was a $800 fine and 6 months probation. Thats nothing that bastard should go to jail for 25 years.We need to change our laws and protect farm animals from abuse. Any one that abuses or tortures a farm animal to death should go to jail for 25 years. From Alice

  • Jill says:

    NICOLE I had the same problem with mice in a house full of carnivores although they didn’t make fun of me… but they too were messy didn’t do their part. Keep putting those humane traps out. Remember to check them every day or even every half a day they get hot in there even when they aren’t intentionally set though because I put one of the humane traps in a drawer and it unintentionally caught a mouse and it died a very slow lonely scared death. I found him weeks later! So make sure you put the traps upside down or in a way they won’t trap something if you don’t intend to. Then when you catch those cute little rascals drive them or walk them to the nearest field or natural place3 and let them go each one at the same place every time so they can all meet up and I promise the’ll be gone…it’ll take a bunch of trips it took me like 10 or so and now they are all gone…and none except the unlucky guy died because of it and I feel good I did the right thing. Mice can find their way back to their original home…so take them a minimum of a block away…really. Good luck

  • rojo says:

    derek so you reckon cysticfibrosis isn’t worthy of all forms of research? I’m sure you can prove that animal experiments will not be at all useful.

  • Derek, MD says:

    I forgot to mention one of the other lead authors from the U of Iowa. I wouldn’t want him to feel left out. colead author

  • Carla says:

    Thanks Derek!!

  • Derek, MD says:

    Now if only some other porcineabusing individuals could be brought to justice a research team led by a U of Iowa professor have genetically engineered pigs to have Cystic Fibrosis because of “shortcomings of mouse models.” The mice didn’t develop the pancreatic or intestinal manifestations like humans…once again proving that animals do indeed make poor models for human disease No sht they aren’t humans!. Michael Welsh MD led the genetic engineering team. David Stoltz MD PhD and David Meyerholz DVM PhD are leading the research team utilizing the genetically engineered pigs. In case anyone wishes to send their opinion to any of these individuals here are their email addresses

  • Michal Kolman says:

    Great! Im really glad that he has been punishedD.

  • Holly says:

    What a victory for us all! Shame the sentence and fine were so small but this is a step in the right direction. Things can only get better!

  • Carla says:

    This is wonderful news!!! Thankyou to all the investigators involved and to give them strength to carry on so these intelligent souls don’t die in vien…. Remember to go veg and put the animals raised for food where they should be nonexistent!!

  • Debbie Stone says:

    I to am so pleased that this man ? was punished for his abuse to the pigs. What about the jerk that was throwing the baby pigs on the cement? I had dreams for weeks after seeing that video. I do have to agree with many of the other comments that this idiot should NEVER be allowed around another animal. They do this with child abusers.

  • Missy L says:

    I applaud the PETA undercover team! I sure could not go undercover and witness slim balls beating animals I would go nuts and start beating the worker myself!!! I am happy the jerk pleaded guilty he had to he was caught on tape but 650 fine and probation is a JOKE! Why can’t we get more powerful judges who give life sentences to animal abusers!

  • Lorenza Feitosa says:

    Great job Peta!!! I just sorry that he can not be working with animals only for 6 monthsthis should be for lifenext time he will be torturing animals he will just make sure that nobody sees it.Lorenza from Brasil.

  • chris gruber says:

    Thank god and thanks to Peta!! Great job yall!

  • Lauren says:

    This is fantastic and kudos to the judge for doing the right thing. I have been vegetarian for a long time and recently went vegan and I will never be going back. Every day animals are suffering for the needless pleasure of human consumption and it is only when people educate themselves and stop turning a blind eye to this that real change can occur.

  • nicole says:

    this is a wonderful vicotry and hopefully there will be more of them… i have a little animal problem of my own i live with 4 carnivores who mock my lifestyle constantly.. which i could deal with until now! see our house has a bit of a mouse plague and i don’t want to use cruel traps or poison so i cleaned the whole house put food in plastic containers so nothing can get in and i have a catch and release style trap happening… but my stupid house mate refuses to put his food away and ruining all my good work and every time i try to explain to this neanderthal he tells me i’m stupid for not wanting to use traps!!! long story short.. what are the best humane mehtods for ending my mouse problem???

  • Debra Zarkivach says:

    Peta is the best. I thank God that there is someone out there to protect animal abuse around the world. What Peta must come across. I salute the people who go undercover.

  • Mike Quinoa says:

    The unsung brave men and women who are undercover investigators can’t be thanked enough.

  • Ola W says:

    Yeah!!!!!!!!! Finally someone has been brought to justice! too bad its such a short sentence and tiny fine. Hopefully this will prevent other similar unfortunate incidents! This goes to show how PETA’s undercover operations make a difference! Donate to PETA! I did!

  • Lili Ochota says:

    What a great vicory. As far as I’m concerned the punishment was not severe enough but hey a few years ago it would not have even made it to court. More power PETA !!!!!

  • Susan Ballarini says:

    There will be a 4H club thing in San Marcos TX very soon. I would like to demonstrate. Also I am now off meat too. I think of those beautiful faces in PETA mag when I go to the store. Thank you PETA.

  • nancy says:

    It’s been a little over a year now since i had any type of animal meat and i don’t miss it either. My health has improved and it makes me feel good mentally knowing that I can make a difference. I am the voice of one and strength of many!!!

  • Meech! says:

    Shannon that’s wonderful I hope you feel so much more healthy! Great news for animals great news for humanity.

  • Shannon Shepherd says:

    It took me a long time to wake up to what’s going on in this world now I have and Peta is a powerful tool I become more involved every time I see a new email. I haven’t eaten meat for a month now beef for over a year and not missing it at all. I am glad to help and do anything I can to save our little friends. Shannon

  • holly says:

    the latest 4h show in Waco texas a pig was drowned. since te pig was underweight they shoved a hose down its throat and drowned the pig. this performance was seen by studens.

  • Mayra says:

    This is a great victory!!!!!!!