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      Mercy For Animals protests Walmart pork suppliers

      Members of the national animal rights organization, Mercy For Animals, joined by a 10-foot tall inflatable pig, bloody with sores and locked in a narrow cage, greeted shoppers outside of the Walmart on Glendale Avenue this morning.

      Local activists joined the protest wielding signs with images of abused pigs, reading: "Walmart Tortures Pigs" and "Walmart Pork = Animal Abuse"

      Phil Letten, the national campaign coordinator of Mercy For Animals, commented about the protest.

      Letten said, â??the focus of the protest is on gestation cratesâ?| (the crates) are so patently cruel that practice has been banned in nine U.S. states and the entire European Union.â??

      Mercy For Animals is calling on Walmart to require its pork suppliers to phase out the practice of confining pigs in narrow crates.

      "It is time for Walmart to follow the lead of Costco, Kroger, Safeway and other competitors in committing to phase out these cruel cratesâ?|Walmart has the power and responsibility to help end one of the cruelest factory farming practices in existence by ending the sale of crated pork," Letten said.

      The practice of confining sensitive, intelligent and social pigs into tiny gestation crates has been widely condemned by veterinarians and leading farmed animal welfare experts.

      To this, Letten said, "If Walmart executives abuse dogs and cats in the horrific manner their pork suppliers abuse pigs, they could be arrested and jailed on grounds of animal crueltyâ?|as a civilized society, it is our moral obligation to protect all animals including farm animals from needless cruelty."