Death on a Factory Farm

HBO’s documentary, DEATH ON A FACTORY FARM, which follows an investigation into alleged abuses that took place at a hog farm, Wiles Hog Farm, in Creston, Ohio, premieres tonight, March 16, at 10pm.

Let me start by saying that this documentary is not for the faint of hearts, the undercover investigator, Pete, was able to capture some pretty graphic videos of the staff mistreating the hogs, one in particular depicts a hog being by a chain from a forklift (I couldn’t even watch that).

The documentary spends some time showing the mistreatment of the hogs on the farm, and then it moves on to the trial after criminal charges were filed for animal cruelty. I won’t tell you how it all ends, but don’t expect too much of a happy ending.

The weird thing is that I had seen a documentary with the same investigator going undercover, but in that one there was no trial. I wonder if Death on a Factory Farm is the extension of that first one I saw, but I cannot remember for the life of me when or on what channel I saw it.

Obviously, this is a very sad documentary to watch and it’s hard to believe some people are so cruel. But if you want to find out more about the subject, Death on a Factory Farm is pretty interesting.

Don’t forget that Death on a Factory Farm premieres tonight at 10pm on HBO.


Synopsis: Three years in the making, DEATH ON A FACTORY FARM follows the undercover investigation of Wiles Hog Farm by the animal rights group The Humane Farming Association (HFA), and the resulting court case against it. The organization received a tip from an employee at the farm that animals were being abused, including a claim that hogs were being hung by chains and strangled to death as a form of euthanasia. HFA then turned to an undercover investigator (also featured in “Dealing Dogs”) going by the name “Pete,” who wore a hidden camera while he worked as a farmhand at Wiles.

Over the course of six weeks, Pete secretly filmed numerous disturbing scenes, including piglets being tossed into crates from across a room, impregnated sows held in pens that don’t allow them to move, an unhealthy piglet being slammed against a wall to euthanize it, and a sick sow being hung by a chain from a forklift until it choked to death. Having obtained this key evidence, Pete concluded the investigation and quit his job.

HFA brought the footage to the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department, which subsequently raided the farm. Prosecutors filed ten criminal charges of animal cruelty against Ken Wiles (the owner of the farm), his son Joe, and Dusty Stroud, a farm employee who participated in hanging the sow.

In the trial that followed, prosecution and defense waged a tense battle over the legality and morality of practices rarely seen by the public and described by the presiding judge as “distasteful and offensive,” but defended by Ken Wiles and other members of the tight-knit Ohio farming community as the commonplace reality of producing livestock for consumption.

(Photo: Courtesy of HBO)