Demonstrators at Walmart protest treatment of pigs
BY SARA PLUMMER World Staff Writer
Monday, February 11, 2013
2/11/13 at 9:48 PM
Mercy for Animals’ demonstration Monday afternoon in front of a Walmart Neighborhood Market was deemed a success despite some technical difficulties that kept its centerpiece -- a 10-foot tall inflatable pig with sores squeezed into a crate -- was grounded for part of the protest.
Phil Letten, national campaign coordinator for nonprofit animal rights organization Mercy for Animals, and 15 Tulsa-area volunteers stood along the sidewalk in front of the grocery store at 4404 S. Peoria Ave., holding signs and posters that read “Walmart tortures pigs” along with pictures of pigs in cages.
Letten said Walmart’s pork farm factories hold pregnant pigs in crates so small that the animals can’t turn around or move, causing sores.
“Confining pigs in these pens is so cruel they’ve been banned in nine states,” he said, and other grocery and food chains such as Costco, Kroger, Safeway and McDonald’s have started phasing out the practice in the pork farm factory suppliers they use.
The stop in Tulsa is No. 78 on a two-part national tour. The first tour started last August and went through 72 cities and this second leg started last week with 39 more cities on the agenda after Tulsa, Letten said.
Dedra Lapidus, an organizer for the Vegetarian Society of Tulsa, was contacted by Mercy for Animals and got the word out for volunteers to come
and be a part of the demonstration.
“It’s important to let the people of Tulsa make educated choices about what they eat -- make choices that go with their morals,” Lapidus said.
Many people have images of pigs on farms rolling around in the mud, but that’s just not true and pigs are actually kept in gestation crates unable to move.
“If they knew this was going on they’d make compassionate choices,” she said. “They’ll go home and check it out on the Internet and make a decision.”
Letten said the aim of the tour is to not only put pressure on food distributors like Walmart but also educate their customers.
“Consumers have a right to know where they’re food comes from,” he said.
Lapidus said by going around the country with these demonstrations, Mercy for Animals is gaining support for its cause and hopefully causing customers to challenge Walmart to change its policy when it comes to its pork supply.
“Nothing changes unless people stand up and ask for it,” she said.
The group Mercy for Animals holds a demonstration Monday for better treatment of pigs by Walmart. About 15 people showed up to the protest in front of the Walmart Market at East 44th Street and South Peoria Ave. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Julie Blount holds a protest sign Monday as the group Mercy for Animals holds a demonstration for better treatment of pigs by Walmart. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Dedra Lapidus(left) and Donald Dion protest as the group Mercy for Animals holds a demonstration Monday for better treatment of pigs by Walmart. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World