At Iron Maiden, HSUS found pigs locked in cages so small they were unable to turn around, in addition to sick and injured sows who had been left to die without treatment and animals who had had their legs bound together inside their crates, to keep them standing when they otherwise would have collapsed.
HSUS claims that Iron Maiden is one of a number of factory farms that uses dead pigs as feed, ostensibly to inoculate surviving livestock against the virus. But the practice of feeding diseased piglets to sows is prohibited by Kentucky law, though it has not yet been banned on a federal level. HSUS is urging the USDA to put an end to the practice.
"The entire atmosphere at this facility is awful for animals, many of whom are perpetually immobilized and suffering from body sores, diarrhea attacks and prolapsed uteruses," Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection at HSUS, said in a statement.
In an effort to combat such heinous treatment, a number of major food companies -- including McDonald's, Burger King, Chipotle, Costco and Target -- have mandated that meat providers stop relying on confinement practices, while major pork producers like Smithfield, Cargill and Tyson have made efforts to eliminate the use of gestation crates and other heavily criticizedtechniques from their farms.