Superior Farms Investigation Statement


As an organization dedicated to building a kinder and more just world for all, Compassion Over Killing stands in strong opposition to any form of discrimination or oppression.  

Over the past 20 years, COK has become well known for its effective investigations to expose the vast animal suffering kept hidden behind the closed doors of animal agribusiness.

Every time our investigators work inside a slaughterhouse or factory farm, we’re never exactly sure what our cameras will capture behind closed doors — as was true of Superior Farms, the largest lamb producer in the US.

Our investigation is the first time a US lamb slaughterhouse has been exposed, and our video provides a shocking look at what gentle lambs killed for their meat are forced to endure. And while we did expect to see violence and cruelty, as is standard practice in the meat industry, we didn’t know until after our investigation began that Superior Farms is slaughtering animals under a Halal certification.

While Superior Farms does not appear market all of its products as Halal, all lambs inside the facility where our investigator worked are slaughtered under what are supposed to be Halal rituals. However, our footage reveals consistent and systematic violations of Halal law and principles.

After reviewing our video, Mohamed Ghilan, PhD, a vegan and student of Islamic Traditions, told us: “As a practicing Muslim I find the cruel treatment I watched in those clips to be contrary to what the Quran and the Prophet Muhammad taught on animal welfare. Muslims usually assume that a Halal certified animal product means the animal was not mistreated. Discovering this not to be the case will horrify most of our community.”

According to Kristen Stilt, JD, PhD, Director of the Islamic Legal Studies Program and the Faculty Director of the Animal Law and Policy Program at Harvard Law School:

“Minimizing suffering of the animal is an overarching consideration in halal slaughter… The methods used in the video shown to me by Compassion over Killing directly conflict with the principles of halal slaughter.”

“I have seen many examples of halal slaughter that do not actually meet the expectations and requirements of halal, but I have never seen an example in which the wrongful acts are perpetrated with the degree of intentionality and uniformity as seen here.”

“The employees are intentionally and systematically inflicting additional and unnecessary pain with the additional cuts to the throat and the tail cutting. This is not a case of a few mistakes or missteps in the slaughter process. Rather, the entire process used in this slaughterhouse is fundamentally inconsistent with the concerns of halal slaughter.”

“The practices also violate the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.”

We recognize some may seek to use our video in a negative manner to further rhetoric intended to be hurtful to practicing Muslims. As an organization committed to standing against all forms of oppression, we are deeply saddened by the possibility of this misguided response.

We strongly encourage everyone who watches our video to challenge the violence and cruelty found in all slaughterhouses. Every time our investigators go inside animal agribusiness operations, we uncover horrific abuses. Sadly, farm animals are routinely treated like unfeeling meat-, milk- and egg-producing machines and are forced to endure tremendous suffering. As long as facilities like Superior Farms are driven by profit, animals will continue to pay the price.

Animal agribusiness is determined to keep consumers in the dark, not only by hiding behind closed doors but by desperately trying to pass laws criminalizing the mere exposure of the truth.

From the beginning of his time working at Superior Farms, our investigator could sense the fear these young animals faced. We believe compassionate people of all faiths will be appalled by the egregious abuse we documented there.

The best way we can help lambs, pigs, chickens, cows and all animals is simply to leave them out of our shopping carts and out of our wardrobe. Compassion Over Killing promotes vegan eating as a way to build a kinder world for all.