Giant pig protests Walmart
Though it was a small protest with only three people, a 10-foot-tall inflatable caged pig with wounds on its sides to show how live pigs in gestation cages suffer, and elegant young women holding signs with the message, "Walmart tortures pigs," drew notice.
The small cadre of two Mercy for Animals protestors and one local volunteer set their sights on the Charlottesville Walmart June 21 as part of a campaign to persuade the retail giant to stop buying pork from suppliers that engage in inhumane treatment of pigs.
The stop was one on a nine-month, 135-city nationwide tour to convince Walmart's suppliers to end the use of gestation cages, which are small metal crates, slightly larger than the pigs' bodies that prevent them from moving or even laying down. While many major food producers such as Kroger, McDonald's, Safeway, Wendy's and Chipotle have already begun to phase out pork raised under such conditions, campaign coordinator Jeni Haines says Walmart has not changed its policy yet.
"Walmart is definitely listening," she says. "Walmart Canada already phased out [pork from inhumane suppliers]. Now we're just waiting for Walmart in the United States."
"I have been a vegan and animal rights activist for the last 30 years," says local writer Jabeen Akhtar, who says she learned about the protest from Mercy for Animal's "very effective social media outreach."
According to Haines, a petition is circulating with almost 100,000 signatures aimed at persuading Walmart to phase out inhumane treatment of pigs.
"Communities have been really supportive of this campaign," says Haines. "When they find out about [the abuse] people are shocked."
Walmart managers declined to comment.