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McRib pork provider Smithfield accused of abusing pigs

November 4, 2011 | 12:53 pm

MCRIB
McDonald’s McRib pork sandwich -– made from miserable pigs?

A week after consumers began cheering (or gagging) over the reintroduction of the cult classic, the Humane Society is accusing McDonald’s pork provider Smithfield Foods Inc. of mistreating its hogs.

In a complaint filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission this week, the animal rights group said the meat producer subjects its pigs to cruel living conditions.

The Humane Society says that Smithfield is misleading its consumers and investors through online videos called “Taking the Mystery out of Pork Production.” The clips claim, in part, that the animals are raised in “the best possible environment," with the best care that can be made available to them.

But the animal advocacy group pointed to its undercover investigation last year, which found Smithfield sows crowded into movement-prohibiting gestation crates, many coated in blood. 

In a statement, Smithfield said that the “allegations are wholly without merit and appear to be another in a series of frivolous attacks,” adding that 30% of its sows will be in group housing by the end of the year.

The company added that the well-being of its animals was one of its “highest priorities,” leading it to seek counsel from experts such as animal welfare consultant Temple Grandin.

As for the limited-time McRib, the blogosphere has been busy dissecting its contents. According to Time magazine's Healthland blog, the sandwich includes ingredients such as azodicarbonamide, “a flour-bleaching agent that is most commonly used in the manufacture of foamed plastics like in gym mats and the soles of shoes.”

RELATED:

McDonald's McRib pork sandwich returns

Investigators recommend changes at farm where Humane Society alleges abuse against pigs

-- Tiffany Hsu

Photo credit: McDonald's

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