An investigator for the organization recorded footage at Quality Pork Processors (QPP), a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) inspected slaughterhouse in Austin, Minn., and uncovered heartbreaking treatment of pigs, in addition to serious issues impacting food safety.
Some of the problems shown in the video include pigs being beaten, shocked and improperly stunned and slaughtered while they’re still conscious, in violation of federal law, pigs who were too weak or sick to walk on their own being beaten and dragged to slaughter and others covered in feces and pus-filled abscesses being slaughtered and processed for food – complete with the USDA’s approval.
Warning: the video below is very graphic.
Problems with the treatment of pigs and other farm animals who are raised and killed for meat have continued to surface through these undercover investigations, but this one in particular is raising serious concerns about a questionable program intended to speed up production and essentially allow facilities to police themselves.
QPP is one of five pork processors in the U.S. that are currently participating in a pilot program that was implemented in the 1990s called the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point-Based Inspection Models Project (HIMP). The program allows for a disastrous combination of faster line speeds at slaughter and lower government oversight.
According to COK, at this particular facility approximately 1,300 pigs are killed each hour to make Hormel pork products, including Spam.
“The abuses we uncovered at Hormel reveal a high-speed slaughter hell for pigs,” said COK’s Executive Director Erica Meier. “Workers are taking inhumane shortcuts to keep the kill lines moving, and with fewer government inspectors on site, this flawed self-inspection system is also jeopardizing food safety.”
COK added in a statement that an audit done by the Office of Inspector General in 2013 had already identified multiple concerns about the HIMP program related to food safety and humane animal handling and that last year several USDA whistleblowers also spoke out about it, yet the USDA has allowed the program to continue unchecked. Not only has it been allowed to continue, but last year the the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service launched a review to see if the program could be expanded.
Unedited footage been given to local authorities and the USDA, which is now investigating.
“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 told the Washington Post.
Meanwhile, COK is encouraging the USDA to end this dangerous program over concerns about the inhumane treatment of pigs and the risks it poses to food safety. Hopefully the attention this investigation is garnering will not only get this program shut down HIMP, but will help encourage people to stop supporting products that inherently perpetuate this type of abuse.
For more info, visit Compassion Over Killing.