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Protesters against pig abuse visit eastern Idaho

Outside the Walmart on South Utah Avenue in Idaho Falls today, there were protesters who said they wanted to raise awareness about buying pork from suppliers who abuse pigs.

Do you know where your dinner came from? It’s a simple question that may not be on shopper’s minds when picking up a package of pork at the grocery store.

“We documented pigs confined to filthy metal crates that are so small that the animals can’t turn around. It’s abuse that Walmart shouldn’t be tolerating,” said Phil Letten, the national campaign coordinator for Mercy For Animals.

Letten has been travelling the country with other activists with a large blow up pig confined to a crate covered in wounds and gashes to depict how pigs are treated by Walmart’s supplier of pork.

“These animals deserve at least enough space to turn around,” said Letten.

Local News 8’s Liz Cosgrove talked to Walmart headquarters on the phone earlier today, and the company said: “We hold our suppliers to the highest standards and do not tolerate animal mistreatment. We are currently engaged with pork suppliers, food safety experts and other organizations to work towards an industrywide model that is not only respectful of farmers and animals but also meets our customers’ expectations for quality and animal safety.”

But not all pig suppliers treat their pigs in this manner.

At Reed’s Dairy, it’s all about keeping the pigs happy and comfortable. In fact, if pigs are allowed to run around, they’ll grow faster in a shorter span of time than if they’re left in small cages.

Coco Cervantes knows — he’s been raising pigs at reed’s dairy for more than 10 years. Cervantes has created a big pen for his pigs that’s cleaned every day and gives the pigs enough room to play.

“If you raise less and they grow faster and do better, you’ll actually make more money,” said Cervantes.

Mercy for Animals is making its next stops in Twin Falls and Boise.

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