Animal Rights Organization Protests Pig Treatment In Front of Wal-Mart Headquarters

You’ve heard of the power of the pen? How about the power of the pig?

The nonprofit animal welfare organization Mercy for Animals fired another shot at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. a few weeks ago with an advertising campaign that was hard to miss.

MFA hired a mobile billboard truck and drove it on a continuous loop around the home office at 702 S.W. Eighth St. in Bentonville for an entire week.

For those seeking a visual on the route, that’s west down Eighth Street, right on Walton Boulevard, right on Central Avenue, right on A Street and right back onto Eighth.

The truck featured two oversized, 10-foot-by-20-foot side panels. The eye-catching billboards called on Wal-Mart to “ditch cruel gestation crates” and included large — very large — images of forlorn pigs in gestation crates.

On one side read the demand, “Walmart: Stop Torturing Pigs.” On the other side, “Walmart: Stop Supporting Animal Abuse.”

MFA, you may remember, criticized Wal-Mart last summer for not joining other retailers that have committed to end business relationships with pork suppliers that MFA says are confining pigs in gestation crates so small they cannot even turn around, walk, or lie down comfortably.

“This is a complicated issue, and there are different points of view,” Wal-Mart spokesman Steven Restivo said in a statement. “We currently offer gestation crate-free pork products in a number of stores across the U.S. and will continue our ongoing discussions with suppliers, nongovernmental organizations and food safety experts to increase that number.”

Restivo added that Wal-Mart does not tolerate animal mistreatment.

Phil Letten, national campaign coordinator for MFA, said the two groups are constantly in discussion, but Wal-Mart is “dragging their feet” on the issue.

Oh, and be on the lookout. Letten said the campaign will continue in different forms in the coming months.