Seaboard Foods has fired seven employees at a pig farm in Phillips County, Colorado, after an undercover video released by animal rights group Mercy for Animals depicted animal cruelty at the facility.
The video, which showed workers hitting animals with boards and cans, was turned into the Phillips County Sheriff’s Office. The law enforcement agency then started an investigation and contacted the company, which is headquartered in Shawnee Mission, Kansas.
“In the limited undercover video made available to us, we identified instances that depict improper handling while loading pigs on trucks, which does not adhere to Seaboard Foods’ training and best practices for moving pigs and ensuring they are comfortable and healthy so we can deliver safe, nutritious and delicious pork to our customers. As seen in the undercover video, the handling is unacceptable and inexcusable,” the company said in a statement.
At the time the company’s statement was released, Seaboard Foods officials had not seen the entire video.
While Seaboard Foods deplored the actions shown by its former employees, it was also critical of the tactics Mercy for Animals used.
“We are disappointed the organization that made the complaint and took the undercover video, which purports to be concerned about animal welfare, did not report the allegations to us directly through our toll-free hotline as is required by any employee, especially after acknowledging Seaboard Foods’ comprehensive animal care program and commitment to the proper and humane treatment of animals and our zero-tolerance policy in the complaint to the Sheriff’s Office,” the company stated.
Of the seven people terminated, two were management supervisors.