Just when you thought the wild world of the industrial food complex couldn't get anymore sickening, disturbing, depressing, or infuriating, word leaked out of Kentucky that the Iron Maiden Pig Farm grinds up the intestines of dead piglets and feeds the cannibalistic slurry to the mother sows, among many other horrific practices that reflect the farm's namesake. This piglet intestine protein shake reportedly a common practice and is being used to fight the deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, according to NPR.
This Humane Society video, which is extremely graphic and may make you question your loyalty to pork consumption, shows huge piles of dead piglets, grown pigs confined to cages and bound so they can't walk, and the dead babies being prepared for their mothers' consumption. NPR reports that farmers are citing the nutrition in the dead piglets' intestines as a way to combat the virus, which currently has no vaccines, spreading among pigs.
After Mad Cow Disease, it seems forced cannibalizing livestock would be illegal across the board. However, farmers are saying the intestines count as "household waste" (think table scraps), and, therefore, are legal to feed to pigs in the Swine Health Protection Act. Whether the farm, which keeps 2,400 sows, counts as a household remains to be seen.