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LA-Based Animal Rights Group Urges Wal-Mart To Stop Buying From Pork Supplier

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — A West Hollywood-based animal rights group urged Wal-Mart Wednesday to stop buying from pork suppliers that allegedly use overly cruel processing methods, KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports.

Former TV game-show host Bob Barker narrates a video that Mercy for Animals secretly recorded at a Christensen Farms facility in Hanska, Minn., showing pregnant pigs confined in tiny gestation crates and piglets being slammed head-first into the ground.

Christensen Farms is one of the largest pork producers in the nation, and a major supplier for Wal-Mart stores.

A Wal-Mart official said the retailer already stocks cruelty-free pork products.

In a statement, Christensen farms alleges the images in the video are dated and intentionally taken out of context.

“Taking proper care of our animals is our primary goal and essential to the success of our business,” said Robert Christensen, chief executive officer of Christensen Farms. “Over the years, we have continually challenged ourselves to improve our operational practices and compliance with industry standards. As one of the largest pork production companies in the U.S., we take our responsibility as a steward to the industry and the animal very important.”

Gestation crates have been condemned as one of the cruelest farming practices in the world, the animal rights group said. The crates are banned in nine states and the entire European Union, the group said.

Restaurants such as McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s and Chipotle, as well as retailers Safeway, Kroger and Whole Foods have asked that their suppliers do away with the crates, Mercy for Animals said. Costco and Kmart have also announced that they would phase out gestation crates in their supply chains.

“Yet Wal-Mart continues to support blatant animal abuse, buying pork from Christensen Farms and other suppliers that condemn intelligent and social animals to a lifetime of misery and deprivation,” the group said in a press release.

(©2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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