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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Cruel treatment brings pork to our tables in Hawaii

by Larry Geller

Hawaii has not dealt with charges that it permits cruel treatment of animals shipped here for food, and then covers it up by sticking “Island Produced” labels on the packages.

The cruelty was revealed in a video produced by the Handle with Care coalition and highlighted again in an August, 2008 story in Honolulu Magazine. But the cruelty continues today.

The Handle with Care coalition was formed in 2007 by a number of ten charities and animal advocacy organizations to lobby for change in the way animals are transported. HWC members filmed the cruelty in Hawaii and posted their video, which seems to have been effective. Shipments of live pigs from Canada to Hawaii ended last year:

A joint undercover investigation, during which coalition members followed and filmed lorries and ships transporting live animals, shows that animals are being driven across Europe for up to 70 hours without breaks, in violation of EU legislation.
. . .
Until 2007, Canada was sending live pigs 4,500 miles to Hawaii, a journey lasting nine days with no rest period, so that the pigs could be sold there as “island-produced,” but the Canadian government said it would end the transport after learning of the coalition’s investigation into the practice. [found here, original article uncited]

Here is HWC’s YouTube video:

YouTube: Canada ro Hawaii: Pigs transported for 7 days

Canada shipments, which had taken about seven to nine days—and included a five-day sea voyage—ceased in October 2007 (for reasons unrelated to HWC’s claims), but [Dena] Jones [program manager of the World Society for the Protection of Animals] says that Hawaii residents should still be concerned. She says up to 15,000 pigs will arrive in the Islands this year from two producers: one in northern Montana, which would require a similar amount of travel as the Canada pigs, and another in California, with about one day less of transport time. [Honolulu Magazine, Island Pork?, August, 2008]

The state and local pig importers have yet to see proof of these claims. The Department of Agriculture says that every livestock container is inspected once it enters the state, and that no evidence of mistreatment has been found. The CEO of Hawaii Food Products, one of two purchasers of the imported meat, says shipping pigs from the Mainland to Hawaii is not illegal. “If the U.S. Department of Agriculture or the state Department of Agriculture says that [the pigs] are being mistreated in any shape or form, we will stop,” says Norman Oshiro.

Maybe Oshiro hasn’t seen the video, which included inspection reports. They didn’t stop the Canadian shipments. Shipping from Montana is probably quite similar. The video showed clear mistreatment on the Hawaii end.

Thanks to Honolulu Magazine for re-opening this issue.

Have you watched the video? Will you do something to change the deceptive labeling and end animal cruelty?

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