USDA: Halt high-speed slaughter expansion
In an effort led by Congresswomen Rosa DeLauro (CT) and Louise Slaughter (NY), a bi-partisan group of 60 members of congress signed a powerfully-worded letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack urging the federal agency to delay the potential expansion of HIMP, a dangerous reduced-inspection, high-speed pig slaughter pilot program.
The USDA previously said that its decision would come out this month. The letter cites concerns that “these new rules are being pushed by the industry to increase profits at the expense of public health.”
HIMP facilities are permitted to operate with fewer government-trained inspectors on site, and they’re also allowed to run slaughter lines at higher speeds than non-HIMP facilities. Even though HIMP was supposedly developed to improve the safety of America’s pork supply, as federal lawmakers note in their letter, “the available evidence suggests that hog HIMP will undermine food safety.”
The letter further highlights concerns about animal welfare: “Rapid line speeds present some of the greatest risks of inhumane treatment as workers are often pressured to take violent shortcuts to keep up.”
Currently, five U.S. pig slaughter plants operate under HIMP, and one of our investigators recently worked inside one of them: Quality Pork Processors, a Hormel supplier. The Washington Post broke this investigation in November, exposing shockingly cruel conditions and alarming food safety concerns — and our video quickly went viral as the footage garnered further national headlines as well as global media attention.
Today’s letter from federal lawmakers references our investigation, and while we turned over our footage to the USDA in October 2015, no meaningful federal action has yet been taken.
How can you help? In addition to sharing this information widely on social media, you can also sign our petition demanding that the HIMP program be shut down completely.