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Four More Former Iowa Pig Factory Farm Workers Admit Guilt!

Written by PETA | June 24, 2009
indymedia / CC
Fattening Pen

Shawn Matthew Lyons was the first individual ever convicted of abusing or neglecting factory-farmed pigs in Iowa, but he’s no longer alone. Four other workers who were employed at the farm—a Hormel supplier at which our undercover investigation produced video footage documenting that workers beat pigs with metal rods and sexually abused them with canes—have now admitted to abusing pigs.

Of the defendants—Richard Michael Ralston, Alan Bruce Rettig, Greg William Hackler, and Jordan Michael Anderson—Ralston, Rettig, and Hackler have pleaded guilty, been convicted, and sentenced to two years in prison, which has been suspended. Anderson accepted a deferred entry of judgment allowing him to have the charges dismissed if he completes a period of good behavior. All four have all been ordered to pay fines and other fees, and they have been placed on probation for periods ranging from one to two years.

Most importantly, three of the men have been barred from working with animals for the duration of their probation. Only Anderson will be allowed to do so. Despite an assurance in October from Audubon-Manning Veterinary Clinic President Daryl Olsen, D.V.M., that Anderson “has been suspended from working with livestock pending the outcome of the charges,” a whistleblower told us that Anderson is currently employed at a hog-confinement facility that Dr. Olsen reportedly owns. Dr. Olsen has not answered our inquiry regarding Mr. Anderson. If you would like to ask him to confirm that his company does not pay admitted animal abusers like Anderson to work with live animals, please contact him here.

Pork magazine called our investigation footage a “wake-up call” for the pork industry. We hope that these convictions serve not only as another wake-up call but also as a lesson to anyone working in this innately cruel industry: Neither the courts nor the public have a stomach for such malicious cruelty to farmed animals.

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • leekeew says:

    disgusting. i dont eat pig or pork anyway. but that dosnt mean they should be treated like this.

  • Helen says:

    I never understand why didnt the judges make these $ shxt go to jail and pay a high fines. PROBATION???? BIG DEAL.

  • Sandra Britton says:

    I think George Bernard Shaw said it best “Since we are the living grave yards of murdered animals how then can we expect ideal conditions on this planet?”

  • yf says:

    whywhywhy…?!do they thinkthat animails have no feelingsand feel the pain…and that they can use this poor bigsfor their funan d frustratians…its afuelwhat their are doing with this pigs….!!!please stop iten signe the petitionor give a donation to help….thank you peta for your help voor yf

  • anne hoesch says:

    this is definatly a step in the right direction for the animals but the sentence is a joke!!! they deserved prison and though i believe in karma and am sure theyll get thiers its not enough to protect the animals who are suffering every day at the hands of such “scum” all around the world and lets face it its 2009 and its taken this long for a prosecution of this kind….what happened to evolution??? we have a long way to go before we can call ourselves civilised in this world.

  • Geof says:

    I am stoked that something is being done. God bless PETA! Thank you again for another animal victory. Although I wish the penalties were a lot more harsh for these men. I have very little sympathy after watching the undercover videos these heartless men torturing innocent pigs. If they had done any of that to humans the consequences would have been far more dire.

  • Kathryn says:

    Humans are proof evolution is a failure.

  • Ariane says:

    There is so much suffering in this world animal cruelty is a perfect example. We need to educate ourselves and others around us on factory farms. PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT THIS CRUELTY! If they did many of them would make changes in their lives no doubt. So much is kept hidden from the public. Awareness is the key and the power is in the people. My heart goes out to these animals…

  • Kimber Benton says:

    a holes need to strop fking up these poor ANIMALS

  • emma says:

    thats great news but does this stop all the abuse at that particular factory?

  • Robin says:

    SUSPENDED!!!! WTF why? that is not fair and certainly not justice for the pigs. Sure they get probation that is NOTHING. Anyone moron can do that. I cannot believe anyone would hire that worthless man again after what he did. Just shows how ignorant people in the factory farming industry really are.

  • Linda says:

    I am so glad that there are so many caring compassionate people out there….sometimes I feel like I am the only one. Thank all of you for caring about ALL living beings.

  • Tuffy says:

    I think it is sad that they only are banned from working with animals while they are on probation. So after two years they can go back with even more hate and anger for the animals. I guarentee that these people are not taking responsibility for their actions they think that it is the animals fault they got in trouble. A fair punishment would be to do to them exactly what they did to the pigs. WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND.

  • Ells says:

    Once again another pat on the back for Peta!

  • Rebecca says:

    You I walk into the cafeteria at my workplace I look around and see all the hot trays of bacon sausage and eggs..and I have to think what kind of suffering happened for this “food” to be here in just one cafeteria in one workplace in one city in one state…how great is the suffering of animals that happens every single day of the year??

  • chinky says:

    “Being human” is a phrase we cannot use anymore considering humans are capable of such horrible acts. No animal would ever harm another animal for pleasure we do!

  • aljuhara says:

    I beleive Karma does exist. The people who do this sort of things will be reborn in the same farms as livestock. and so this cycle will go on. its similar to the cycle of life its a cycle of cruelty and if you wish to be part of this cycle theres no stopping you. there is perfect justice in this cycle except that we ordinary mortals need to take a step backwards for this to be clear to us. we say Gods are cruel to us sometimes…and what do you think the animals think about us?

  • ALEXANDRA says:


  • leslie tyler says:

    I cant even begin to put into words how i feel I can not even remember the last time my heart pumped so fast and so hard as when I watched that video. UNBELIEVABLE!!!!! PLAIN AND SIMPLE….. EVIL PEOPLE THAT BEAT DEFENSELESS ANIMALS SHOULD BE BEATEN BACK… THAT WOULD SEND A DAM MESSAGE NOW WOULDNT IT!!!!

  • coco says:

    When I see someone do something nice I say look at how far we’ve come. When I read things like this I say we have yet far to go. I hope those animal killing brutes have a great time in jail.

  • Carla says:

    No jail time? Are you kidding me? The abuse that these pigs took was so inhumane. What kind of message are we sending out to other animal abusers? People who do this are just plain sick in the head and we are letting them back out into society? They don’t have to be on a factory farm to find an animal to abuse next. And they WILL abuse again and again and again!!!! Bastards. Our courts and judges need to give harsher sentences for sickos like this!!!

  • Yvette snow says:


  • jennifer haller says:

    I cannot believe people behave this way… sexually abusing animals is disgusting… just glad they admitted their wrong doing!

  • Keri Lovett says:

    I am so glad there are people like PETA who stand up for animal rights since there are not enough people that do. It makes me sick to even think much less know that there are people out there that would do such horrible things to an animal. I’m glad they got at least some prison time out of it although it’s too bad their sentences were not longer. But at least it’s a start in the right direction. Thanks for the coverage of this story and keep up the good work PETA!

  • Torrie Venus says:

    How ironic that these inhumane cruelties occur in the socalled Bible Belt. Where is the sense of goodness considered a trait of people of the midwest? These pigs have a heart and soul just as you and I. They are living feeling indiviudals. The more educated we become the more we will put an end to this cruelty….

  • Christian says:

    These bastards should be hung up by their balls for what they did to these defenseless animals!! No animal deserves to be abused in any way shape form or fashion! They’re living breathing creatures just like us. I’m so proud I became a Vegetarian! Keep up the good work PETA!!

  • Tina says:

    Humankind is not so kind anymore. It seems we have to fight every day to prevail over evil the proof is in the abuse of helpless animals. I am not a vegetarian but I have great respect for any animal which serves to feed me and maintain my health. Abuse cruel deaths and meaningless massslaughter not to mention illegal culling and fishing should warrant much harsher punishment. If we continue this way we will be the end of ourselves and it will be deserved. We’re a sad species really.

  • polina kiov says:


  • Shakti says:

    heartbreaking story of animal abuse with a hopeful ending that offenders won’t get away with it. thanks for the coverage.

  • April says:

    I have to admit I am not pleased with the outcome but like any legislature it has to start some where. This is just the stepping stone for harsher punishments to come. I truly believe that these “people” if we could really call them that should see the same fate as these poor animals. But in our world today that is just not going to happen unfortunatly. What ever happened to an eye for an eye literally. One could only hope that stronger punishments are put into place as soon as possible and that not another animal has to endure what these poor animals did. That would be the world I would like and be proud to live in.

  • Michelle Goulet says:

    If the court system fails to reinforce the ultimate punishment for this type of brutal unethical most barbaric treatment towards “any” living thing is especially for the pigs that had to endure those conditions without being able to control there lives or destiny is disgusting to me…. Only human beings treat living things the way they do… there own species doesn’t even treat them as we do We are accountable with no excuses to protect those that cannot… That’s why we have police right to “Protect and serve the community” then why would it be any different for these animals? Boils down to “unaccountability and ethics…” Where we fall short most often times…

  • jade says:

    They were so abusive it was just beyond horrific.These people lack morale and respect to animals.I’m not so happy about what happened the court could have given them life sentence for that so no one would ever do the same thing again. I feel ashamed of being human when we human beings abuse our right as steward of our less intelligent fellow creatures. Who the hell will do such a horrible thing no righteous man would ever do that.

  • Wendy says:

    Not exactly good news as far as I’m concerned. I would have like to have seen a stronger penalty given out to all of these people guilty of this abuse that was beyond horrific! I always do think this way with animal abuse issues and the cruelty involved with this. They really did get off easy! One good thing this was exposed and I’m happy for that but stifter penaties PLEASE!!!!!!

  • Nancy says:

    EXACTLY Astrid. I am with you. This is bone chilling and really scary stuff since you can imagine the lack of compassion morale and character these people lack who abuse innocent and confined animals I would bet that they abuse their wives and children too. JUST WHAT IF there were video footage of people sticking a clothespin in the animal abuser’s eye with no medical treatment. The whole thing is very sick and ugly and we need Prop 2 and even better than that passed ASAP in every state. The animals are totally defenseless and cannot fight back and they are suffering tremendously. Factory farming is also sooooo bad for the environment. People need to wakeup and smell the blood and pain and suffering. This is not civilized. WHAT WE DO TO FARM ANIMALS IS CRIMINAL AND IT IS THE WORST TYPE OF SIN AGAINST GOD’S CREATIONS. There will be a price to pay someday.

  • Doug Bennett says:

    Humans are supposed to be the stewards of this planet and all that inhabit it. Unfortunately humans feel superior to all other living things and therefore have little or no regard to nonhuman life. We are teaching our children that animals are expendable and worthless. Look at the dead animals along your freeways and other roads that are left to rot and be run over again and again. Children see this on a daily basis and become immune to the disregard to what these animals are most are mothers and fathers and some are babies. We don’t leave humans on the side of the road to rot nor do we think its okay to beat and neglect them although some humans do this because they are raised to belive that life is expendable. I say these men should be used for experimentation not animals.

  • Doug Bennett says:

    Humans are supposed to be the stewards of this planet and all that inhabit it. Unfortunately humans feel superior to all other living things and therefore have little or no regard to nonhuman life. We are teaching our children that animals are expendable and lifeless. Look at the dead animals along your freeways and other roads that are left to rot and be run over again and again. Children see this on a daily basis and become immune to the disregard to what these animals are. most are mothers and fathers and some are babies. We don’t eave humans on the side of the raod to rot nor do we think its okay to beat and neglect them although some humans do this because they are raised to belive thatlife is expendable. I say these men should be used for experimentation not animals.

  • Irina says:

    This is very bad! I just don’t have the right words to say anything

  • Len says:

    Another great job by Peta exposing this disappointing the jail time was suspended.

  • Graziella says:

    I am glad ATLEAST they have gotten probations. For doing such Emotionless Damage to beings is Evil.

  • lynda downie says:

    Well put Julia. I agree wholeheartedly with you.

  • Missy L says:

    WHAT! Thats all these disgusting animal abusers got!!! I am not happy! I wanna see them beg for mercy I want them to suffer! I would LOVE to torture these creeps myself! I am sure they are in hidding I do have special ways of finding these slim balls and I think I will they better pray before I get to them!!!!

  • Luke Swanhart says:

    Pigs are more intelligent than dogs and capable of great love and affectionI am ashamed to be a part of the human race when so much cruelty and suffering is inflicted on these poor helpless animals they have a right to be treated with humanity. WHY is it people are so cruel to pigs or any animal just because they can’t talk and are helpless.. why? because we can? Well no we can’t. HUMANS KNOW what they are doing. That makes it worse. SO who is calling who an animal when people do such horrific cruelty. This is pure rotten.

  • BEARROOT says:

    I can hardly think of anything positive to say after watching that video. My thoughts are so angered that I would like to see the same thing happen to each and everyone of those people that they did to those pigs.Canes rods kicks head beatings castratedsexual abuse the works. I say let them experience it all. What a bunch of moronic idiots work on these factory farms.Can you imagine their home life and how they treat their families? A living hell.Children growing up to perpetuate the violence and abuse!!

  • carlos de la fuente says:

    I find this trial a very good thing for mankind courts of law should be severe with animal abuse. However cruelty impunity and indifference is the rule in this hellish world for animals and not dignity and justice. I just wish people knew pigs are wonderful animals wonderful enough to be a lovely pet as dogs or cats. They are really smart they shouldn’t be victims of men trade. We should stop eating pig. Humankind should think of all the damage that is inflicting upon this earth.

  • James Strickland says:

    I am ASHAMED to be a human being in this time for what we “intelligent” beings are doing to our less intelligent fellow beings. If mankind survives another thousand years they will be agast that we perpetuated such cruelty on such a mass scale as we slaughter our fellow creatures to stuff them into our bodies and clog our arteries.

  • Astrid says:

    What the fuck is going on in this world? All you hear is about animalchildren abuse??!! I really hope Karma exists… this can’t be happening unpunished… my god are we in hell yet??

  • Holly says:

    This kind of abuse is sickening it’s hard to read about it to imagine the suffering of the animals. I’m so glad that these men where prosecuted and that PETA is bringing awareness to the sufferings of factory farm animals.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    Only a person bereft of a heart soul and mind could torture and kill pigs cows chickens and other socalled “food animals.”

  • Deaner says:

    This is HUGE news anywhere let alone out of Iowa where agribusiness dominates. Frankly in a country of overcrowded prisons more and more violent criminals are given suspended sentences. My hat’s off to the sheriff and prosecutor for so quickly getting these guys to own up to what they did. I pray the PETA investigators breathe a sigh of satisfaction tonight knowing they’ve secured a sweet rare serving of justice for pigs!

  • Julia says:

    I am THRILLED that they have been found guilty and that at least 3 of them are not allowed to work with animals. I am truly saddened that their prison sentence was suspended bc to me that is the court telling everyone that “as crimes go this isn’t so bad”. And it is a terrible crime this ruling is indicative of how valuable animals are perceived or not and that if animals are perceived as expendable then no harm done to them while alive is worth seriously reprimanding. I look forward to do the day when true accountability takes place.