Police trying to determine responsibility in pig deaths
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Police trying to determine responsibility in pig deaths
BY KEVIN GARCIA, The Brownsville Herald

[Ed. Note] This is another example of why animals need legal rights to protect them from human exploitation.

July 6, 2006 -- Police are still trying to determine who was responsible in an animal cruelty case in which about 150 pigs intended for a breeding facility in Mexico died.

Brownsville police representatives said the investigation into the 2,644 swine ordered by PIC International should be completed this month.

The animals arrived June 26 and June 27 from Ohio at the Texas Department of Agriculture's Livestock Export Facility near the Brownsville-South Padre Island International Airport. The pigs remained until June 29 inside the truck trailers while the state livestock pen manager, Mario Hernandez, awaited paperwork from Mexican broker Alfredo Hernandez of Hessen Forwarding Ltd.

Originally 130 deaths were reported, but PIC representative Keith M. Canfield said the number was closer to 150. The surviving pigs were transported to their original destination, Queretaro, Mexico.

Canfield said the United Kingdom-based PIC is conducting its own investigation with the help of John McGlone, a professor of swine and animal welfare and behavior at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.

"This incident is of great concern to PIC, a company with 40 years of export shipment experience, and an investigation has been initiated to be led by an independent animal welfare expert," Canfield stated in a prepared statement.

Meanwhile, the Humane Society of the United States issued its support of the investigation, asking those responsible be brought to justice.

"There is no excuse for subjecting these animals to cruel, prolonged and painful deaths," said Peter Wood, HSUS deputy manager, in a letter addressed to Cameron County's district attorney and the Brownsville Police Department.

Police said the case is being pursued as a cruelty to animals charge, a Class A misdemeanor in Texas.

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