LCA’s Investigative Findings
In the spring of 2015, LCA conducted a four month investigation into a Christensen Farms facility in Minnesota. The facility is a “breed-to-wean” factory farm where 2,500 mother pigs, producing over 1,300 piglets each week, are confined to small metal crates for their entire lives.
The investigation uncovered multiple incidents of systematic neglect and cruelty, including:
- Pigs with large vaginal and anal prolapses and other severe injuries being forced to walk or drag themselves before being shot.
- Workers slapping, kicking and stabbing downed sows with pens.
- Workers dragging pigs by their snouts and ears.
- Workers failing to promptly euthanize piglets in critical condition.
- Company protocols that result in piglets being left in carbon dioxide inhalation chambers overnight and not being confirmed dead until the next morning.
- Pigs with debilitating illness and injuries left to suffer for prolonged periods, sometimes as long as ten weeks. Many of these grossly neglected sows became too weak to access feed and water, quickly becoming emaciated and later found dead.
Five Christensen Farms employees were fired as a result of LCA’s investigation.
Christensen Farms is the fourth largest pork producer in the United States, as well as the largest shareholder of Triumph Foods, a pork processing company.
“As much abuse as is depicted bespeaks very poor, unconcerned management. The managers are as guilty as the workers if they allow the animals to suffer as long as they do. Any legal action brought against the facility should also include the supervisory personnel who allow this sort of behavior to proceed uncorrected. …I urge that this facility be prosecuted for animal cruelty to the fullest extant permitted by law.”Bernard E. Rollin
Rock County Attorney Declines to Press Charges after Ignoring Key Evidence in Case
October 7, 2015; Minneapolis, MN – The Rock County Attorney’s office declined to charge Christensen Farms management and employees with cruelty to animals following LCA’s undercover investigation. The investigation documented workers dragging, slapping, kicking, and stabbing downed sows with pens; workers improperly euthanizing injured sows and piglets; and management neglecting pigs suffering from debilitating illness and injuries for periods as long as ten weeks. Christensen Farms is the fourth largest pork producer in the nation and major retailers, including Walmart, sell its products across the U.S.
Rock County Assistant Prosecutor Jeffrey Haubrich’s decision was made after failing to review the full unedited video evidence that LCA made available to his office. LCA is pressuring for completion of the review of all of the evidence and the subsequent filing of charges. Read more
Christensen Farms Caught Illegally Dumping Mercury After LCA Complaint
September, 2015 – LCA has learned that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued a Letter of Warning to Christensen Farms following LCA’s complaint for enforcement of mercury dumping prohibitions. During LCA’s investigation, the LCA witness documented the illegal dumping of hundreds of mercury-containing compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), in direct violation of Minnesota law. Improper disposal of CFL bulbs known to contain mercury poses serious risks to humans, wildlife and the natural environment.
LCA’s findings were not an isolated incident. On August 17 the MPCA investigated LCA’s complaint and documented Christensen Farms illegally dumping half a trash bag of mercury-containing CFLs into a solid waste dumpster. In their letter, The MPCA directed the company to immediately cease disposing spent CFLs into the solid waste system and to submit a plan within 10 days to comply with the law.
LCA releases never-before-seen Christensen Farms immersive 360 video at Minnesota State Fair
August 27, 2015 – LCA releases new 360-degree video footage at the Minnesota State Fair, taken during their Spring 2015 investigation of Christensen Farms. LCA is greeting fairgoers with a mobile display van outfitted with Oculus glasses, which respond to the wearer’s head movement, displaying a fully immersive 360 degree view of what life is like for pigs confined at Christensen Farms facilities.
UFC Heavyweight Mark Hunt Sees LCA Video, Goes Vegan
August 14th, 2015 – just three days after the release of LCA’s investigation into Christensen Farms, Mark Hunt, a globally popular UFC heavyweight champion fighter known as “The Super Samoan,” shared LCA’s undercover video on his Facebook page and announced to the world “I’m going vegan…hate this.” Hunt’s declaration to switch to a vegan diet immediately received worldwide press. The 41-year-old New Zealand native now joins other heavyweight champions like Mac Danzig and Mike Tyson in a vegan lifestyle.
LCA’s open letter to MN Rep. Rod Hamilton
August 14, 2015 – LCA invites Rep. Rod Hamilton, R-Mountain Lake, who works for Christensen Farms and was the author of Minnesota’s ag-gag bill, to sponsor legislation that would make farm animal cruelty a felony in the state. Rep. Hamilton’s legislation would have not only made conducting investigations illegal but the penalties for violating the proposed law would be higher than those for acts of animal cruelty. The investigation into the treatment of pigs at Christensen Farms highlights the need for Minnesota’s felony animal cruelty provisions to extend to all animals and not just companion and service animals. Read the letter here.
LCA Files Criminal Complaint
On August 5, 2015, LCA submitted a criminal complaint to the Rock County Sheriff’s Office requesting that Christensen Farms be investigated for multiple violations of Minnesota’s Cruelty to Animals Act. The complaint detailed 36 incidents which included 18 incidents of animal cruelty, 17 incidents of animal mistreatment by neglect and 1 incident of animal mistreatment by deprivation. Law enforcement has initiated their investigation into the matter.
About Last Chance for Animals
Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and public awareness campaigns. Since its formation in 1984, LCA has succeeded as one of the nation’s pioneer animal advocacy groups. LCA’s educational and public outreach programs have empowered the public to make positive changes for animals in their communities. For more information, please visit: http://www.lcanimal.org
Copyright © 2016 Last Chance for Animals. All Rights Reserved.