FORT MYERS, Fla. - Members of the animal rights group Mercy for Animals protested outside the Walmart on Six Mile Cypress Parkway Tuesday afternoon, as part of its nationwide tour.
According to the organization, the retail company has dealings with a pork supplier, which the group alleges mistreats pigs.
Protesters stood outside the Fort Myers Walmart, holding signs. They were accompanied by a 10-foot inflatable pig in a cage.
The supplier in question is Christensen Farms, a Minnesota-based company.
Mercy for Animals has posted a video on its website, with undercover pictures taken on the farm, depicting pregnant pigs in confined pens, piglets with bloody sores, and other images.
The group wants Walmart to join other stores in calling for an end to the cramped gestation crates.
"Gestation crates are so patently cruel, that the practice has been banned in 9 U.S. states, as well as the entire European Union," said Phil Letten, National Campaign Coordinator for Mercy for Animals.
"It is time for Walmart to follow the lead of Costco, Kroger, Safeway, and its other competitors in committing to phase out these cruel, inhumane crates."
More on the organization's complaints and farm footage are available here.
Contacted Tuesday, Christensen Farms released a statement, saying Mercy for Animals's footage is "dated and intentionally taken out of context." It says the company currently operates within industry standards and strives for improvement.
The company's full response is available here.
Walmart also released a statement, saying it currently offers gestation crate-free pork products in some stores and is working to increase the number.
“We hold our suppliers to the highest standards and do not tolerate animal mistreatment," said Deisha Galberth Barnett, a company spokesperson.
“We encourage customers interested in learning more about how grocers and restaurants source pork products to contact the National Pork Board (www.pork.org)."