A representative of MowMar Farms, the new owner of an Iowa hog operation featured in a video posted on the PETA Web site, says he is surprised and outraged over the images of animal abuse portrayed at the Bayard, IA, facility.

MowMar, based in Fairmont, MN, has operated as a family-owned swine business for over 30 years.

“MowMar Farms does not and will not tolerate the mistreatment of any animals under our husbandry, and we take these PETA allegations very seriously,” said a company statement released by the National Pork Board.

PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) indicated the mistreatment of pigs was documented on film over a three-month period starting June 10. MowMar Farms purchased the farm just a month ago and has retained a new management company to oversee daily operations.

MowMar officials said they first learned of the PETA allegations just a few days ago, Sept. 15, when PETA notified MowMar that it wanted to meet.

PETA and MowMar officials had a frank and open discussion in a Sept. 17 meeting about PETA’s discoveries and outlined actions to correct the situation. MowMar and the farm manager agreed to:

1. A thorough investigation into the incidents, policies and personnel that were in place prior to the acquisition of the farm by MowMar. Employees who committed animal cruelty violations have been and will be terminated based on the findings of the investigation.

2. An animal handling expert will be invited to visit the farm and conduct a review of the policies and procedures and provide independent guidance on best management practices.

3. Policies and procedures that are not considered consistent with MowMar’s policies and generally-accepted standards for the treatment of farm animals will be revised and strengthened.

4. Current and future employees of MowMar and the farm management company will receive extensive training on MowMar policies and the proper treatment of animals on their farms.

5. The effectiveness of video monitoring equipment is being studied as a tool to oversee all aspects of herd care.

MowMar Farms will continue to enforce a “zero-tolerance” policy with regard to farm animal abuse and officials are committed to resolving “this inexcusable situation as quickly as possible.”