Undercover Video Gives the Dirt on Pigs in Factory Farms

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Gary Fandel / Bloomberg / Getty Images

You might not want to have a ham sandwich for lunch today.

A new undercover video showing gruesome conditions in which pigs are kept at an Iowa factory farm (emphasis on the “factory”) has hit the web, courtesy of the advocacy group Mercy for Animals (MFA). Representatives of MFA will officially present the graphic footage Wednesday during several press conferences, beginning around 11 am EST. Before you tell yourself this has nothing to do with you, take note: MFA has linked this particular pork producer to four major U.S. food retailers, all of which sell meat raised in that factory farm.

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Arguably, the most disturbing aspect of the video — shot by an undercover MFA investigator who was hired as an employee — is that what we see isn’t technically illegal under federal or state law. At least some of it is actually considered “standard” in the pork industry.
(MORE: A Legal Assault on Animal-Abuse Whistle-Blowers?)

Meanwhile, Iowa — the nation’s top pork-producing state — currently has a bill on the table that would outlaw the production, possession and distribution of videos, pictures, and other “recordings” of farms taken without the owner’s consent. Other states also introduced, but didn’t pass, similar bills this year. Among them was a New York measure banning farm photography; it was ostensibly related to terrorism concerns.

Read TIME.com’s in-depth report on the Iowa pig farm investigation here.

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