LUVERNE, Minn. (WCCO) — The fourth largest pork producing farm in the U.S. has launched an investigation into alleged improper care of animals.
Christensen Farms in Luverne was the subject of an undercover investigation by Last Chance for Animals, a nonprofit that investigates animal cruelty.
The four-month long investigation uncovered serious allegations of abuse of pigs in Minnesota.
An employee of Last Chance for Animals began working for Christensen Farms four months ago and recorded a video of alleged abuse inside.
“During our four month investigation, LCA documented a pattern of systematic abuse all overseen by barn managers and at times witnessed by corporate management,” said Adam Wilson, the director of investigations with LCA.
Some of the video is too graphic to show on television.
Wilson says the video shows workers hitting, kicking and stabbing sows with pens.
It also shows pigs dragged by their snouts and ears as well as pigs being left in carbon monoxide inhalation chambers overnight until they die.
“Upon completing our investigation, we submitted a criminal complaint to the Rock County Sheriff’s Department detailing 36 violations of Minnesota’s anti-cruelty laws,” Wilson said.
The 28-page document calls for an investigation and enforcement of Minnesota Cruelly to Animals Act at Christensen Farms.
LCA claims the farm did not euthanize sows in accordance with animal welfare standards.
“We were obviously disappointed to learn of the alleged violation of our own internal animal welfare policies,” said Glenn Stolt, the CEO of Christensen Farms.
He said when he learned of the allegations he immediately made changes which led to “the suspension of seven employees pending an internal investigation.”
Stolt says Christensen Farms has a history of continually improving its animal welfare process.
The Rock County Sheriff is investigating the allegations by LCA.