On March 29, a Smithfield Farms pig truck overturned on Virginia Route 10. The truck, loaded with 180 pigs bound for the slaughterhouse, tipped over on a straight road. The crash scene was littered with beer bottles and injured pigs. The driver, Edwin Batts of Warsaw, North Carolina, was charged with reckless driving, but no charges have yet been filed against Batts or against Smithfield for the hideous cruelty inflicted on the 180 pigs. Sadly, what transpired next was entirely legal.
Most of the pigs were forcibly thrown from the truck into a nearby field; some were killed on impact. Many of the survivors were severely injured: Some suffered broken legs or ribs. All were confused and terrified. The injured pigs lay in the field for hours, most unable to move, while Smithfield workers attempted to corral other pigs. Finally, after more than two hours of chasing down the other animals, the Smithfield employees went to work killing the injured pigs. The workers used a "captive-bolt gun," a tool that propels a metal shaft into the animal's brain. Many animals had to be shot several times before finally dying, causing them to scream out in agony and terror each time they were shot unsuccessfully. When all the animals were killed, the workers used a front-end loader to shovel the piles of dead bodies into the back of another truck.
PETA field officers at the scene of the accident tried to help out, asking to be permitted to humanely euthanize the injured animals, which would have spared them hours of pain and suffering. Smithfield refused and the pigs continued to suffer. Their excuse? The animals' dead bodies could not be sold if they were humanely euthanized! The Virginia state veterinarian, contacted by PETA, also refused to come to the scene to help oversee or properly euthanize the suffering pigs. Go to the site listed at the bottom of the article to read an eyewitness account from one of PETA's field officers, and to see video.
Such accidents are common in the factory-farming industry, where transport is largely unregulated and laws protecting animals on their way to the slaughterhouse are non-existent. PETA is lobbying the state of Virginia to enact strict policies mandating that animals injured in transport accidents be humanely destroyed—and asking for Smithfield's help.
The only real way to ensure that you are not supporting such cruelty is to adopt a vegan diet.