With the display of brutal, unnecessary force during the slaughtering of pigs by a popular pork supplier caught on tape, animal activists are calling for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take decisive action against animal cruelty in food production facilities.
Animal rights activist group, Compassion Over Killing arranged for one of their members to go undercover in top pork supplier Quality Pork Processors (QPP) in Minnesota. In the video, which was then edited before being uploaded to YouTube last Wednesday, Nov. 11, showed pigs being beaten and dragged around the slaughterhouse amidst the cheers of fellow workers.
The pigs were shown to be lathed in feces and puss-filled sores. Some were even visibly shaking in pain during slaughter, which directly violates federal law that requires livestock to be stunned before killing them.
"That one was definitely alive," an employee in the video said, referring to one of the pigs moving down the conveyor belt. "If USDA is around, they could shut us down."
Compassion Over Killing has given hours of raw video footage to the USDA and local authorities depicting these and other acts of animal cruelty, and has already met with federal authorities to assist in investigating these matters.
"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.
Tarr added that there were federal inspectors at the QPP plant at the time, but the video most likely did not reach them at the time. He assured that were the investigators made aware at the time, they would have taken prompt regulatory action against QPP.
On QPP's part, they claimed that the unnecessary aggression displayed towards the pigs were spotted by the plant's 24 hour video monitoring system before the Compassion Over Killing's video was released, prompting immediate action from company authorities.
"We have strict policies around the humane treatment of animals - it's a priority," said Nate Jansen, human resources vice president for Quality Pork in Austin. The workers involved in the video were given verbal and written reprimands for disregarding company standards.
In addition, QPP said that they have zero tolerance for animal cruelty and will work closely with the FDA to take needed corrective action.