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More Than 45 Pigs Killed; Other Injured Pigs Go on to Slaughter
For Immediate Release:July 7, 2010
Contact:Dan Paden 757-622-7382
Smithfield, Va. -- This morning, PETA sent a letter to C. Larry Pope, CEO of Smithfield Foods, Inc., urging him not to employ any drivers who have a record of repeated driving-related offenses or have been at fault in any crash. PETA's request follows the crash of a transport truck last month in Chesterfield County, Va. The truck's driver, Jonathan Daniel Leggett of Chesterfield, was hauling 80 pigs for Smithfield subsidiary Murphy-Brown, LLC. More than 45 of the pigs were killed upon impact or died from injuries. Other injured pigs went on to slaughter. Leggett was charged with reckless driving and failure to maintain control. PETA points out that this was not the first traffic accident caused by Leggett.
Three months earlier, on March 7, Leggett crashed a truck in Harnett County, N.C., while hauling 46 cows. Leggett had tried to pass another vehicle in a no-passing zone, according to news sources. Thirty-five cows died outright, more were likely injured, and the driver of the other vehicle was hospitalized. Also, Virginia court records indicate that Leggett was cited in June 2009 for failure to obey a Chesterfield County traffic signal and that he paid $162 in fines and costs for the offense. The very next month, Leggett was accused of traveling 56 mph in a 35 mph zone and paid another $167 in fines and costs.
"Because of Smithfield's shameful record of hiring reckless drivers, the mangled remains of pigs have been left on Virginia highways," says PETA Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. "Considering that PETA's investigators have reported seeing pigs who survived crashes being dragged by the ears and shocked with electric prods, it is high time the company enact a strict safe-driver policy."
This was at least the seventh deadly accident involving a Murphy-Brown driver in southeastern Virginia since 2004. PETA has taken extensive video footage of the abuse and suffering endured by pigs in the aftermath of prior crashes.
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