The charges stem from undercover video that surfaced in May showing facility employees punching and kicking pigs there. Since the incident, Tyson asked a subsidiary to end its business relationship with Wyoming Premium Farms.
Nine employees from the facility, including two managers, are charged with cruelty to animals. If convicted, those charged could face up to two years in prison, along with a $5,000 fine.
Tyson Foods has since issued a statement in response to the charges. It says, "We do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals by any of our suppliers. Since May, when the undercover video shot at this Wyoming farm surfaced, the supplier has been thoroughly investigated by our Office of Animal Well-Being. We were satisfied by the operator's corrective actions, which included its work with on-site animal welfare consultants and retraining its workforce in proper animal handling. We also understand the company made management changes and terminated some employees after its own internal investigation. It should be noted that Tyson Foods does not purchase hogs raised on this farm for our pork processing plants. We have a small, but separate hog buying business that purchases aged sows from this farm; however, these animals are sold to other companies and are not used in Tyson's pork processing business.
The Humane Society has issued a statement on its website in response to a recent statement from Tyson about launching a new animal welfare audit program. It says in part, "audits are valuable if farm inspectors ask the right set of questions. We've not suggested that Tyson contractors are denying food to animals or intentionally abusing them, but that they are denying them enough space to even turn around. Tyson's announcement would mean more if the company was getting its pork from farmers who do not confine sows in crates that immobilize the animals."