Newly Leaked Video at a Pig Slaughterhouse is Disturbing

November 12th 2015

Kyle Jaeger

An undercover video at one of America's largest pork producers appears to show pigs being inhumanely beaten and slaughtered in violation of federal law. The animal rights nonprofit Compassion Over Killing recorded the video this year as part of an ongoing investigation into meat processing practices in the U.S.

Warning: This video contains disturbing content.

While federal law requires that animals are effectively stunned before being slaughtered, the edited video, which was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, shows some seemingly conscious pigs being killed as their bodies move down the production line.

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"That one was definitely alive," a worker, whose face is blurred in the video, says. "If USDA is around, they could shut us down." (He is referring to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a federal agency that regulates meat production).

Other pigs appear to be covered in feces and puss-filled sores as they are being processed at Quality Pork Processors, a pork producer based in Austin, Minnesota, that supplies more than half of the "fresh pork raw material needs" for Hormel, the company that makes Spam and other processed meat products.

"The actions depicted in the video under review are completely unacceptable, and if we can verify the video's authenticity, we will aggressively investigate the case and take appropriate action," USDA spokesman Adam Tarr said.

The company says they have already fixed the problem.

Nate Jansen, the vice president of human resources and quality services at Quality Pork Processors, said that the company had already been made aware of possible policy violations that appear in the Compassion Over Killing video and had taken disciplinary action against two employees. The Associated Press reported that the employees received written warnings and were ordered to undergo retraining.

Jassen argues that the edited video does not offer an accurate depiction of the plant's operations, but Compassion Over Killing executive director Erica Meier says that this criticism is groundless.

What activists are saying.

"Our video speaks for itself. We documented excessive beating, shocking, improper stunning, and dragging of animals," Meier told the Huffington Post.

Quality Pork Processors is one of five pork processors that participate in a federal pilot program known as the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point-Based Inspection Models Project, which was launched by the USDA in the 1990s in an effort to provide a "flexible, more efficient, fully integrated" inspection system.

It gives plants such as Quality Pork Processors more autonomy over inspections that were previously overseen by USDA inspectors. While the USDA claims that the program is more effective, animal rights groups say that the system allows for "high-speed slaughter" that lacks federal regulation.

In a statement, Compassion Over Killing wrote:

"That means this facility operates at faster line speeds than almost any other facility in the U.S. The excessive slaughter line speed forces workers to take inhumane shortcuts that lead to extreme suffering for millions of pigs. It also jeopardizes food safety for consumers."