State Police Face Challenge Over Statements About Pig Farm Footage

PETA Wants Answers After Police Admit That 'Some' Video Footage Was Shot at East Fork Farms, yet File No Charges, Fail to Investigate Where Other Scenes of Cruelty Were Shot, and Can't Back Up Claim That Whistleblower 'Staged' Some Footage

For Immediate Release:
November 15, 2019

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Brownstown, Ind. – This morning, PETA sent an urgent letter requesting an explanation of the Indiana State Police’s public statements that East Fork Farms—where video footage shows that pigs suffered with bloody open sores, mother pigs were so injured that they could barely move, and dying, dead, and rotting piglets were found—will not be charged, in part because of claims that some of the damning video footage was “staged” and that some of it was recorded on another pig farm.

PETA—which has fully cooperated with the police from the start and believes the footage to be strong evidence of violations of state law—is asking police to clarify the following points: which portions of the video were “staged,” how it’s possible to stage piles of dead piglets and manure lagoons, why charges weren’t filed for the cruelty evidenced in scenes that the police state were indeed shot at East Fork Farms, which other facility “some” footage may have come from, and whether they plan to investigate that pig farm, if it is in fact not East Fork, for cruelty.

“PETA has seen no evidence that the horrifying video footage of pigs drowning in their own waste came from anywhere other than East Fork Farms, as evidenced by the East Fork employees clearly visible in it,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “If the Indiana State Police have reason to believe that this footage was captured elsewhere, we need to know so that the people who did leave pigs suffering with open wounds can be held accountable.”

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

PETA’s letter to Indiana State Police Superintendent Douglas G. Carter follows.

November 15, 2019

Superintendent Douglas G. Carter

Indiana State Police

Dear Superintendent Carter,

Given that the Indiana State Police (ISP) has finished its consideration of East Fork Farms and that no cruelty-to-animals charges will be filed, on behalf of PETA’s more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, I’m writing to request some clarifications with regard to claims made in the Versailles District’s public statement—specifically, concerning the following:

The investigation established that some of the clips were staged for the purpose of capturing the video and other video clips may have been filmed at a different facility. Detectives have not been able to identify the person who filmed the videos and the identity of the person has not been made available to detectives by PETA.

From the beginning, PETA has cooperated fully with the ISP. Each question from Detective Nate Adams was answered promptly and thoroughly, raw footage was express-shipped to the ISP immediately upon request, and we provided the ISP with the information that we have about the identity of the party who sent us the footage—i.e., an e-mail address. The ISP’s claim that “the identity of the person [who filmed the video] has not been made available to detectives by PETA” is misleading and does not reciprocate the same good faith and courtesy that we have shown to the ISP all along.

I must also call to your attention that Sgt. Stephen Wheeles made similar comments to the industry publication Farm World during the course of your inquiry, which were published on October 23. PETA immediately contacted Detective Adams to seek clarifications about the claims that parts of the footage had allegedly been “staged” and that parts of it had been taken at a location other than East Fork Farms. We also asked about Sgt. Wheeles’ claim that the ISP was “working with PETA in hopes of getting to the bottom of the video.” Detective Adams replied that no comment could be given, as the investigation was still active. For some reason, however, the ISP had already seen fit to make comments to a farming publication.

I hope you see why this unprofessional, inconsistent, and selective information sharing gives us pause. We are also disturbed that the ISP chose to use a tactic common to animal abusers who wish to deflect attention away from their own illegal conduct and confuse or mislead the public.

Now, we’re asking for an explanation as to which parts of the footage you believe could possibly have been “staged”? Is it the ISP’s position that the videographer brought the filth, flies, maggots, cockroaches, and rats into East Fork Farms? Or that the videographer collected and delivered to the facility the pools of manure and urine that the piglets were drowning in? Or that the videographer was somehow “responsible” for the animals’ open sores, paralysis, and abject thirst or for the deformed piglets, the bloated and clearly sick and injured pigs, the severe crowding, the dilapidated and rotting wood and structures, or any of the many other conditions that clearly violate the state’s statute prohibiting cruelty to animals? Does the ISP believe that the videographer somehow asked the workers shown on the video to throw screaming piglets 7 to 8 feet through the air? If the ISP believes, as stated, that “some” of the footage was filmed at East Fork Farms, why hasn’t action been taken to address the glaring violations shown in that footage? And if it believes that some was “filmed at a different facility,” why is the ISP not diligently working to identify that facility and render aid to the pigs suffering there?

We sincerely hope you will take a serious look at Versailles District 42’s conduct in this case. The pigs deserve much better than this, as do residents of Indiana.

Thank you for your time and attention.

Sincerely,

Daphna Nachminovitch

Senior Vice President

Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.

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