A local hog farm has been cleared of wrongdoing after prosecutors declined charges following a national animal rights organization’s call for an investigation into their practices.
Jackson County Prosecutor Jeff Chalfant declined charges against East Fork Farms in Brownstown following an investigation that started when an anonymous video was sent to police by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, according to a news release from Sgt. Stephen Wheeles, public information officer for the Indiana State Police Versailles Post.
The edited version of the video was released Oct. 9 by PETA and was filmed in early September. The video shows dead piglets, workers cutting off tails and throwing pigs to each other, overflowing waste systems, decomposing pigs and more.
A second video was released in October and showed similar conditions.
According to the news release, the investigation showed that an unknown person or persons illegally entered the farm on multiple occasions in September and October and captured video inside the facility at night when no workers were present. Detectives determined cameras were then hidden inside the facility to capture daytime operations.
Wheeles wrote in a news release that police believe some clips were staged and that some were even filmed at another facility.
Officials with PETA told The Tribune that the organization had been able to confirm the clips were filmed at the farm by photographs of a prescription bottle and other “identifying factors.”
Information on which clips were staged or what facilities the videos were filmed at was not available.
Police have not been able to determine who filmed the videos.
Indiana State Police investigators went to the farm shortly after the video surfaced and did not find conditions consistent with what PETA’s video showed. A veterinarian who is familiar with confined animal feeding operations was present during the visit and found the building met industry standards, Wheeles said.
A second veterinarian with the Indiana State Board of Animal Health visited the farm on a separate date, according to the news release.
The second veterinarian also did not find any evidence of animal abuse. The veterinarians did provide East Fork Farms with some recommendations on how to improve the facility and better care for the pigs.
PETA President Ingrid Newkirk issued a statement Thursday afternoon on the conclusion of the investigation.
“PETA vehemently disagrees with the conclusion that it is not cruel to leave piglets to drown in pools of waste and shriek as they’re pinned against cage bars and to allow mother pigs to watch as their babies suffer, die and decompose just out of their reach,” she said before calling on consumers to not eat meat. “PETA stands ready not only with videos of the animals’ misery but also with free vegan recipes and assistance in choosing a kind lifestyle.”