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Shipments suspended at Kentucky farm after video purports to show animal abuse

PHOTO-Mercy for Animals

***WARNING: Graphic Video****

UPDATE:

Hidden camera video taken by an animal rights group appears to show a Kentucky farm abusing pigs planned for slaughter.

Some local animal advocates say this has become all too common.

The video, taken by the Mercy for Animals Group shows Tosh Farms in Franklin, KY, which is just miles from the Tennessee border. It produces pork for Tennessee and other states.

According to Mercy for Animals, workers are seen punching and kicking the pigs, slamming them to the ground, and allegedly ripping off body parts without pain relief.

In a statement, Tosh Farms said they will immediately address the animal care and handling issues seen in the video.

Full Statement:

"An undercover video conducted by Mercy for Animals has been released on one of our farms. We will immediately address animal care and handling issues in this video out of line with our written policy and industry standards. A third-party veterinarian who specializes in animal care training is evaluating the farm today to assess all animals on the farm and to assist us in creating a short and long-term plan to ensure animal welfare policy re-training and compliance.

Tosh Pork takes seriously our ethical responsibility for the proper care of pigs. As a pork producer, we are committed to producing safe, wholesome pork in a socially responsible way. No one cares more than our family, as a U.S. pork producer, about producing high-quality products, taking care of our animals and natural resources, and contributing to local communities.

Our goal is to always find ways to improve our practices and provide the best possible care for our animals."

Some local animal advocates said this isn’t always the case.

“If you're a corporation, these are dollar signs, and if it costs money to give the proper care to these animals, they're not going to spend that money, that's why we keep seeing these things happen again and again,” Nashville Animal Advocacy Spokesperson Julie Henry said. “These are companies for profit."

She says although the video makes her sad, and even angry, it didn’t shock her.

“Nothing surprised me,” Henry said. “Everything is something that we have seen before in previous investigations.”

She said tougher legislation needs to be passed to protect animals and the people investigating farms and factories.

“We need laws that protect the investigators,” Henry said. “Right now, what we’re seeing is lobbyist for these corporations are actually pushing to punish the investigators, to actually have more power so that they can protect what happens on the inside.”

Beau House is a veterinarian at Nashville Veterinary Specialists. The business mostly treats dogs and cats, but they believe all animals, even livestock, deserve proper care.

“All animals deserve to be treated humanely, whether they sleep in our own beds, or we consume them as part of livestock, House said.

“They certainly have the capability to feel pain, to understand what’s happening to them, so I would just ask, why would we not want to do something to protect these animals,” Henry said.

In Tennessee, torturing, neglecting, maiming or badly overworking an animal are all misdemeanors. It becomes a felony if the suspect has previous convictions for the same crime.

JBS USA, the U.S. branch of the world's largest meat producer, says it has suspended shipments from the farm.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.--Hidden camera footage recorded by an animal rights group purports to show a Kentucky farm abusing pigs planned for slaughter.

The group Mercy for Animals released video from Tosh Farms, a farm which produces pork for Tennessee and other states. The Franklin company is considered the 24th-largest pork producer in the United States.

According to Mercy for Animals, workers can be seen kicking and punching the animals, slamming piglets to the ground and then leaving them suffering without care. Workers are also allegedly seen ripping out piglets' testicles without pain relief.

Mercy for Animals adds mother pigs are also allegedly kept in small cages where they are unable to lie down comfortably or turn around. The group says their investigation took place between December 2017 and March 2018.

FOX 17 News has reached out to Tosh Farms which provided the following statement:

"An undercover video conducted by Mercy for Animals has been released on one of our farms. We will immediately address animal care and handling issues in this video out of line with our written policy and industry standards. A third-party veterinarian who specializes in animal care training is evaluating the farm today to assess all animals on the farm and to assist us in creating a short and long-term plan to ensure animal welfare policy re-training and compliance.

Tosh Pork takes seriously our ethical responsibility for the proper care of pigs. As a pork producer, we are committed to producing safe, wholesome pork in a socially responsible way. No one cares more than our family, as a U.S. pork producer, about producing high-quality products, taking care of our animals and natural resources, and contributing to local communities.

Our goal is to always find ways to improve our practices and provide the best possible care for our animals."

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