The High Cost of Walmart's Cheap Pork

Do you think it's acceptable to cram an animal into a crate so small she can't even turn around, lie down comfortably, walk, run, play, or engage in other basic behaviors? Walmart does.

A Mercy For Animals undercover investigation released last spring provides a shocking look into blatant animal abuse at a Walmart pork supplier -- Christensen Farms -- where pregnant pigs and their piglets are forced to suffer lives of extreme confinement and misery.

Like other investigative footage taken at pork factory farms, including footage shot by The Humane Society of the United States at Seaboard Foods, another supplier to Walmart, this shocking hidden-camera video documents thousands of mother pigs forced to live inside narrow metal gestation crates barely larger than their own bodies, piglets slammed headfirst into the ground, workers cutting off piglets' tails and testicles without painkillers, and animals suffering from bloody open wounds.

These investigations reveal that the true cost of Walmart's cheap pork is far too high: systemic animal abuse and neglect.

Although standard for Walmart pork producers, the practice of confining sensitive, intelligent, and social pigs to tiny gestation crates has been banned in nine U.S. states and the entire European Union, and is widely condemned by veterinarians and animal welfare experts, including Dr. Temple Grandin, who is considered the leading farmed animal welfare expert in the country.

Recognizing their inherent cruelty, over 50 of the nation's largest food providers, including McDonald's, Burger King, Wendy's, and Chipotle, and major grocery retailers, including Safeway, Kroger, and Whole Foods, have all started demanding their suppliers do away with these cruel crates. Following the Christensen Farms investigation, Costco, the third-largest grocery chain in America, and Kmart, the third-largest discount store in the world, announced they too would begin requiring their pork suppliers to phase out cruel gestation crates.

From coast to coast, in more than 70 cities, consumers have protested outside Walmart stores, demanding the company eliminate cruel crates from its supply chain. Over 75,000 people have signed MFA's petition to Walmart, and A-list celebrities, including Ryan Gosling, Kristen Bell, Zooey Deschanel, Emily Deschanel, Tom Morello, Kim Basinger, and David Boreanaz, co-signed a letter to Walmart's CEO Mike Duke that states: "As the largest retailer in the world, Walmart has the power -- and the ethical responsibility -- to ensure that the pork sold in its stores is not the product of egregious animal abuse."

Many consumers across the nation have pledged to boycott Walmart until the mega retailer requires its pork suppliers to let pigs live better by phasing out cruel and restrictive gestation crates. Unfortunately, Walmart is still supporting blatant animal abuse by selling pork from Christensen Farms and other producers that confine pigs to cages barely larger than their own bodies.

This week, Mercy For Animals is ramping up its national campaign against the world's largest retailer, as we embark upon a national protest tour, stopping in 21 states and 45 cities across the country over the next few months. Protestors will be joined by a 10-foot-tall inflatable pig, covered in bloody sores and crammed inside a tiny gestation crate.

As a civilized society it's our moral obligation to prevent cruelty to all animals, including farmed animals. It's high time Walmart did away with inherently cruel gestation crates. The practice is simply abusive and outdated and not something any socially responsible company should support.

Visit to sign the petition calling on Walmart to take a stand against animal abuse by requiring its pork suppliers to end the use of gestation crates.