Police Find Dead Pigs in Tyson Shed; PETA Seeks Charges

Deputy's Footage Reveals Some Animals Were Shot Upon Arrival for Being 'Bad Coming Off the Truck'—and One Was Left to Suffer to Avoid Profit Loss

For Immediate Release:
October 1, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Mitchell County, Iowa – This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter asking Mitchell County Attorney Mark Walk to file livestock neglect charges against the worker(s) responsible for loading sick and/or injured pigs for transport to a Tyson Foods transfer station near Osage, where at least seven of the animals were killed upon arrival because of their extremely poor condition.

After a concerned citizen sent PETA a video of the dead pigs and notified the Mitchell County Sheriff’s Office, PETA obtained body camera footage from a deputy’s visit confirming that pigs were injured and bleeding and that some had to be shot in order to be put out of their misery when they arrived. Additional injured, bleeding pigs were still alive—and a rendering company employee admitted that one pig whose tail had been severely bitten “probably should be euthanized” but that Tyson was trying to sell the animal to make “five bucks.” He said that this “kind of crap gives the hog industry a bad name” but that “you’re never gonna clean it up, because it’s money.”

“Tyson is not exempt from cruelty-to-animals laws and cannot decide to allow pigs to suffer in pain just to get a few extra bucks,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “These pigs never should have been loaded onto a truck in the first place, and PETA wants the authorities to ensure that those who engage in cruelty at Tyson get charged just like anyone else.”

Last year, PETA defeated a move by Iowa legislators to conceal video footage of factory farm cruelty from the public with an “ag-gag” law. The group sent the citizen’s video of dead and injured pigs to Tyson, but the company simply sent back a form reply, ignoring the problems.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Walk follows.

October 1, 2020

Mark Walk

Mitchell County Attorney

Dear Mr. Walk,

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office investigate and file charges as deemed appropriate against the individual(s) who recently loaded severely sick and/or injured pigs for transport to a Tyson Foods facility located at 3916 U.S. Hwy. 218 S., outside Osage, and the individual(s) who failed to relieve one of these pigs of his or her suffering.

Following an August 11 eyewitness report of apparent animal neglect, a Mitchell County Sheriff’s deputy responded to the scene. The deputy’s body camera footage shows approximately seven dead pigs, whom a witness says were killed because they were “bad coming off the truck” that hauled them to the site. In the video, the deputy says that the site manager shot these pigs because they “weren’t acting right” when they arrived. The deputy also describes seeing pigs who did not have “a tail left anymore” and were “all bloody.” The witness said that one pig’s injury was “a severe tail bite” and that the animal “probably should be euthanized.” However, it appears that this pig’s pain was not promptly and humanely ended as required by law and industry standards.

I.C.A. § 717.2 states that a person who “[f]ails to provide livestock with care consistent with customary animal husbandry practices” is guilty of livestock neglect.[1] Additionally, the National Pork Board says, “The position of the National Pork Board is that any animal [who] is unable to walk, is ill or significantly injured should not be transported to market channels,” and it recommends that such an animal should instead be euthanized.[2] In 2008, Greene County officials charged a pig farm manager for violating the statute above after an injured sow was loaded for transport when—like the pigs observed by the deputy at Tyson Foods—she should have been relieved of her suffering on site.

Thank you for considering this important matter.


Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigations

[1]Iowa Code Ann. § 717.2 (2019) <https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code/2019/717.2.pdf> (last accessed on Sept. 29, 2020).

[1]National Pork Board, TQA Handbook (2019) 40 <https://www.porkcdn.com/sites/all/files/documents/TQA/V7.0/TQA_v7_HandbookEnglish.pdf> (last accessed on Sept. 29, 2020).

[1]Iowa Code Ann. § 717.2 (2019) <https://www.legis.iowa.gov/docs/code/2019/717.2.pdf> (last accessed on Sept. 29, 2020).

[2]National Pork Board, TQA Handbook (2019) 40 <https://www.porkcdn.com/sites/all/files/documents/TQA/V7.0/TQA_v7_HandbookEnglish.pdf> (last accessed on Sept. 29, 2020).

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind