On Tuesday, the Chicago Tribune published two major exposés of the pig farming industry in Illinois—the nation’s fourth-largest pork-producing state—that uncover widespread patterns of animal abuse and environmental devastation. One exposé analyzed 20 videos shot by undercover investigators since 1998 that showed conditions inside hog confinement operations while highlighting the records of animal-cruelty charges filed and staff firings over documented animal abuse. The paper found that at least 23 employees faced charges, and 18 were “convicted and punished with short jail stints, small fines, or probation terms that prohibited working with animals for a period of time.” The paper’s other exposé “found a state regulatory system that failed to protect rural communities as pork producers repeatedly exploited weak Illinois laws to build and expand the massive facilities” and “that the growth of these confinements has created a persistent new environmental hazard.“
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