A small group of silent protestors stood holding signs next to a giant inflatable "bloody, caged" pig outside a Walmart store on Friday in Hartford trying to raise awareness of animal cruelty practices by Walmart's pork suppliers.
A steady stream of traffic passed by the protestors who held signs reading "Walmart Tortures Pigs" and "Walmart Pork=Animal Abuse." They stood on the more visible sidewalk rather than in the parking lot of the store just over the West Hartford line and right near a busy westbound I-84 exit. Many drivers honked or gave the protestors a thumbs-up.
Phil Letten, national campaign coordinator for Mercy For Animals, said that his organization is know for its undercover investigations, which have revealed "pregnant pigs confined for nearly their entire lives in fly-infested crates barely larger than their own bodies, pigs suffering from bloody open wounds and infections, and piglets being slammed headfirst into the ground and having their testicles ripped out and tails cut off without painkillers," according to a news release issued by the organization.
"We feel like consumers have a right to know where their food comes from, and make their own decisions," said Letten.
"It's time for Walmart to take a stand and phase out cruel gestation crates which prevent pregnant pigs from turning around," he added. Letten believes Walmart is dragging its feet an continuing to deal with suppliers such as Christensen Farms. Footage from Mercy For Animals' undercover investigation of that supplier is included in the attached YouTube video.
According to Mercy for Animals, other large companies such as Kroger, Safeway, Costco, and McDonald’s, have already required their suppliers to phase out the cruel practice. The organization also said the practice has been outrightly banned in nine states as well as the entire European Union.
"Most people are opposed to animal cruelty, and when they learn of the conditions pigs endure before they end up on Walmart's shelves, they are horrified. They don't want to support it," said Letten.
Mercy For Animals is in the eighth week of a cross country protesting tour.