The USDA Just Allowed Pork Imports From Mexico. Here’s How Pigs Are Treated There.

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) just lifted a ban on pork imports from Mexico. This move came after the USDA determined Mexico was free of classical swine fever.

Classical swine fever is contagious and often fatal. Signs of infection are lethargy, fever, yellowish diarrhea, vomiting, and purple skin discoloration of the ears, lower abdomen, and legs. It commonly results from feeding uncooked or undercooked garbage or meat products to pigs. While no evidence suggests that it’s transmissible to humans, the virus easily spreads among pigs in the unsanitary and overcrowded conditions at factory farms.

While pork products were imported from eight states in Mexico as of 2017, a request by the Mexican government led to inspections throughout the country by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. By 2018, pork imports from Mexico to the United States could double to more than 660 million pounds.

So what are factory farms like in Mexico?

Two years ago, Mercy For Animals investigated government-owned slaughterhouses across the country—one of its most harrowing and disturbing investigations yet.

Video shows cows and pigs brutally kicked and beaten, painfully shocked with electric prongs in their eyes, stabbed repeatedly, left to choke on their own blood and vomit, and even cut open while still conscious and able to feel pain. Footage also reveals participation of minors in animal slaughter.

This investigation led to the proposal of a historic bill early last year after international outcry from millions. If passed, the bill—the first of its kind in Mexico—would criminalize slaughtering an animal who had not been properly stunned. The proposed legislation passed the entire chamber of deputies in October 2017 but still has a long way to go before becoming law.

The USDA should urge the Mexican government to pass this bill. But by allowing pork imports under current Mexican law, the agency is complicit in these atrocities.

It’s time for the USDA and the federal government of Mexico to send a clear message: Animal cruelty must not be tolerated. Animals deserve better than to be painfully shocked, shackled, sliced open, and immersed in vats of scalding water while conscious and able to feel pain. No animal should have to suffer this fate.

MFA is proud to have fought for laws to protect farmed animals in Mexico. But if you think pigs raised for pork in the United States are much better off, think again.

Pigs in the United States face horrendous conditions and mutilations. Pregnant sows are confined in barren metal crates barely larger than their bodies, unable to turn around or even lie down comfortably. And the pork industry doesn’t care. A spokesperson from the National Pork Producers Council defends these gestation crates: “So our animals can’t turn around for the 2.5 years that they are in the stalls producing piglets. … I don’t know who asked the sow if she wanted to turn around.

If that’s not heartbreaking enough, wait until you hear what they do to piglets. Piglets’ testicles are ripped out while the animals are fully conscious and without painkillers. Sometimes piglets suffer herniated intestines due to botched castration. Their tails are agonizingly sliced into and yanked off. Horrifically, piglets who do not grow fast enough are killed by “thumping, or being slammed headfirst onto concrete floors.

These extremely cruel practices are all standard in the pork industry.

Watch this MFA undercover investigation into a Walmart supplier.

If this makes you angry or sad, you can do something about it. Help protect pigs and other farmed animals from unspeakable cruelty and a lifetime of suffering by leaving them off your plate. Click here to learn more about the benefits of a plant-based diet.

Live in Mexico and want to get involved in the legislative campaign? Click here to volunteer.