HONOLULU – Animal rights activists have claimed meat sold in Hawaii as “Island Produced Pork” often comes from pigs shipped in cramped containers from the mainland.

According to the Associated Press, the World Society for the Protection of Animals argues that it's inhumane to keep animals in shipping containers for a four- or five-day voyage when there's a clear possibility that some of them will die, said Dena Jones, the group's program manager.

A study of public records showed at least 218 pigs died during voyages to Hawaii between Sept. 1, 2006, and Aug. 31, 2007, for a 1.4 percent mortality rate, Jones told the news service. That's about seven times higher than the 0.2 percent of pigs that typically die during transport nationwide, she said.

The group, the AP reported, placed a full-page ad in The Honolulu Advertiser with the headlines: "This 4,000-mile trip to Hawaii is no pleasure cruise" and "Help end this cruel journey!"

Only about 0.4 percent of pigs shipped to the islands between 2002 and 2007 died in transit, Jason Moniz, program manager for livestock disease control at the Hawaii Department of Agriculture, told the AP.

The coalition of animal protection groups called Handle with Care is urging pig suppliers and retailers to either sell locally raised pigs or import chilled meat from the continental U.S., the news service reported.