Activist group Compassion Over Killing has released an undercover video documenting the despicable practices inside a USDA inspected Hormel Foods Slaughterhouse located in Austin, Minnesota* – and it is gut-wrenching, to say the least. The video (above) shows not only brutal mistreatment of the hogs but also filthy, unsanitary conditions.
In a press release, Compassion Over Killing describes the shocking images found in their undercover investigation:
- animals being beaten, shocked, dragged, and improperly stunned—all out of view of the few government inspectors
- sick and injured pigs unable to walk, known as “downers,” enduring particularly egregious abuses, since they cannot walk to the kill floor
- pigs covered in feces or pus-filled abscesses being slaughtered and processed for human consumption with a USDA inspection seal of approval
- numerous instances of improper stunning and slaughter, potentially leading to some animals entering the scalding tank while still alive
- a supervisor sleeping on the job when he should have been overseeing the stunning process to ensure workers were following protocol
The Minnesota facility is one of five facilities in the United States operating under the USDA pilot program HIMP, which cuts down on the number of inspectors, bypassing mandatory inspection of all carcasses while implementing a hazard analysis which would speed up the process by singling out the animals that could be contaminated before they entered the slaughterhouse.
This is not the first time problems created by HIMP at the Minnesota facility have been addressed. Food Whistle Blower released an affidavit statement made by Joe Ferguson, a USDA inspector in September 2014, who worked at the same processing plant. In regards to the HIMP program, Ferguson said,
“…is out of control and is a sham the career bureaucrats have drafted to get rid of inspectors. FSIS hierarchy is in bed with the regulated industry. The companies are now calling the shots. Pretty soon the agency will have no authority. After working in this plant for ten years, I definitely do not support its expansion to the rest of the industry.”
Between Ferguson’s words and Compassion Over Killing’s undercover video, the need to address the egregious injustices reigning inside these pork facilities has reached a monumental high. We must join together and tell the USDA that the pilot program HIMP needs to end.
Sign the petition and add your voice to the thousands who are demanding the USDA to stop the unhealthy and inhumane high-speed slaughter of pigs.
*Edit: This facility is owned by Quality Pork Processors.