Saturday, October 18, 2008

Iowa Veterinary Board and Veterinarian Paul Armbrecht Agree: It's OK to Hang, Drag, and Kick Pigs

An undercover video taken in Ohio by the Humane Farming Association shows horrendous, practically unthinkable treatment of pigs and sows. You can see this video for yourself here, if you dare -- But frankly, I recommend that you just take my word for it, because if you have a scintilla of compassion, this will break your heart.

Who could possibly defend this treatment?

Who else, but a veterinarian.

Specifically, Iowa Vet, Paul Armbrecht.

Called to testify IN DEFENSE OF the Wiles Hog Farm where these horrific acts took place, Armbrecht testified that:

  • Hanging is an acceptable method of killing downed and disabled sows, despite the fact that the American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Association of Swine Veterinarians, and the National Pork Board don't list hanging as a humane method of "euthanasia" in their guidelines.

  • Wiles Hog Farm's practice of dragging, kicking, and dropping sows off a 4-foot ledge was an acceptable means of transporting sows to their deaths.

  • Killing methods that cause animals to take up to 10 minutes to die are acceptable.

  • Dr. Armbrecht had observed at least one similar strangulation elsewhere in recent months but failed to report it.

(See Tell Iowa Vet Board: Hanging Pigs is Not Humane!

Well, certainly the Iowa Veterinary Board would take action against the license of a veterinarian who saw a pig hanged (NOT deemed a humane euthanasia method by the AVMA, as though you needed someone to tell you that after watching this) and did not report it, right?


Apparently, the Iowa Vet Board thinks this is FINE, even though it violates their OWN practice act.

Would you like to tell the Iowa Veterinary Board how much they suck?

Click here to sign the petition to the Iowa Vet Board.

This petition says:

"I am horrified to learn that the Board failed to pursue any formal disciplinary action against this man, given his total disregard for laws protecting animals from cruelty and for veterinary standards by endorsing cruel killing by strangulation. Please immediately reconsider your decision."

Unfortunately, it appears that Armbrecht's testimony played a pivotal role in letting some of these slobs and demons -- taped slamming piglets to the floor -- off the hook.

Out of 10 animal cruelty charges filed as a result of this taping, only one resulted in a conviction.

According to the, only Joe Wiles was found guilty, as a result of "grabbing [piglets] and throwing them by their ears and legs."

The article goes on to say:

"Two charges alleging Joe Wiles, 22, of 1187 Steiner Road, needlessly killed animals and beat others to death with a hammer were dismissed before the judge deliberated. Also dismissed early in the trial was a charge Dusty Stroud was cruel in beating piglets to death by slamming their heads into cement floors.

Stroud, 18, of 814 McKinley St., Wooster, was found not guilty of failing to properly euthanize sick animals and when he did so, was cruel. Stroud was an employee of the farm.

Miller also found Joe Wiles not guilty of the same charge, as well as failing to provide food, water and veterinary care to animals and impounding animals without food or water.

Joe Wiles' father, Ken Wiles, the farm's owner, was found not guilty of failing to provide food, water and vet care to animals."

Why did these charges not result in more convictions? (I mean, WATCH the tape.)

Judge Stuart Miller cited "differing opinions from skilled veterinarians," the article says, in explaining his decision.

A letter to the Iowa Veterinary Board, jointly signed by:

  • the Humane Farming Association
  • PETA
  • the Animal Welfare Institute
  • the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
    Li>the Human Society of the United States, and
  • the Association of Veterinarians for Animal Rights

stated that "Dr. Armbrecht’s trivialization of the AVMA and AASV/NPB guidelines and his explicit approval of death by strangulation apparently were enough to cause the judge to acquit the defendants on all charges related to the hangings." They appealed to the Iowa Veterinary Board to find Armbrecht in violation of statutes relating to making false or misleading statements and statutes related to livestock neglect (arguing that Armbrecht sanctioned such behavior).

It seems a legion of appeals isn't enough for the draconian Iowa Vet Board.

Or, perhaps like so much else, the Board's lack of action has more to do with cronyism, political influence, and connections than it does about the truth. Why do I say that?

Well, in an ironic and macabre twist, the Iowa State College of Veterinary Medicine publishes a newsletter called "The Gentle Doctor." In a 2004 edition it announced that the Armbrechts were named Family of the Year, in recognition of their "outstanding loyalty and support of Iowa State."

Who knows? But perhaps the Board's lack of action has something to do with Board Member Rexanne Struve.

Rexanne Struve operates a pig-rearing laboratory (chills your blood, does't it?). They produce "specific pathogen free pigs." A synopsis of her company appeared in an Iowa State "Biotech Mixer" program, stating that "Dr. Rexanne Struve has been performing caesarean section pig deliveries in a sterile environment and raising caesarian derived, colostrum deprived (CDCD) piglets . . . Currently the only commercial lab in the U.S. raising CDCD pigs, Struve labs is a respected leader in the swine industry working with biological and pharmaceutical companies . . . [Struve is] the leading supplier of CDCD pigs for the medical industry."

Well, asking Struve to sympathize with pigs suffering at the hands of "Swine Industry" abusers certainly sounds like a lost cause, doesn't it? Can she be objective enough to do her job? Doubtful. An online blog quotes a "Carroll Area Development Corp." member as saying: "Rexanne would like to save local farmers and hog producers."

We know where her loyalties are. Oh, and the same article goes on to talk about Struve hobnobbing with Governor Vilsack. And she wants to transplant pig organs into humans. And she traveled to Taiwan on behalf of the U.S. to advise Taiwan's "swine producers."

Of course several other Board members have Iowa State connections.

Would this Board ever find Armbrecht in violation of anything?

As for Armbrecht himself, I struggle for the words to define his inexcusable excuses for cruelty.





In my opinion, YOU BETCHA.