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Washington, DC — February 2, 2017 — Today Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national animal protection organization, released a gut-wrenching undercover video providing the public with the first behind-the-scenes look inside a US lamb slaughterhouse. The investigative footage reveals egregious animal cruelty and alarming food labeling practices at Superior Farms, the largest lamb producer in the US, supplying meat to the nation’s top two food retailers, Walmart and Kroger.
Filmed by a COK undercover investigator working for Superior Farms in Dixon, Calif, which slaughters up to 1,400 lambs a day, the graphic video captures the violent and bloody death that these young, gentle animals are forced to endure.
While Superior Farms touts its meat as “humanely harvested,” and uses a Halal certification seal on some of its products, COK’s undercover video reveals:
Ineffective stunning, leading to some animals experiencing the shock of the electric stunner more than once
Multiple violations of the federal Humane Methods of Slaughter Act
Even after having their throats cut, many lambs are kicking or thrashing their heads – signs they can feel pain – as their tails are cut off
The shocking footage also shows lambs being repeatedly jabbed with an electric prod, a herding dog biting at these frightened animals to force them to move, workers grabbing and pulling lambs by their wool, and a very small young lamb confined in a garbage can.
Upon review of the video, Dr. Holly Cheever, a licensed veterinarian with extensive experience as an expert witness in food animal production cruelty issues said, “I find too many instances of animals who appear to still feel pain sensations after stunning and throat-cutting,” adding that workers’ handling of the animals is “conducive to maximizing, not minimizing, stress and fear.”
After reviewing our video,Dr. Lester Castro Friedlander, former USDA chief veterinary meat inspector stated, “In My Professional Opinion there were several violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.”
COK’s investigator also documented several other practices concerning finished food products, including Superior Farms violating its own metal detection policy by not sending all packaged meats through the detector. And on more than a dozen occasions, workers were documented changing “best by” dates on refrigerated meat labels, deceiving consumers about the freshness of the products.
“Time and again, Compassion Over Killing’s investigations have shed light on egregious abuse kept hidden behind the closed doors of factory farms, showing that cruelty is standard practice in the meat industry,” said Erica Meier, Executive Director of Compassion Over Killing. “As we captured on camera inside Superior Farms, consumers can now see what these gentle lambs are forced to endure in their final days. The best way we can help lambs and all animals is to leave them off our plates.”
In addition to supplying meat to major retailers, Superior Farms also sells lambskin to companies that turn it into designer boots like UGGs and car seat covers. Other parts of these baby animals—their tails, ears, tracheas and lungs—are sold as dog treats.
For more details and to view investigative video, visit: cok.net/superiorfarms
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Compassion Over Killing (COK) is a nonprofit animal protection organization working to end the abuse of farmed animals through undercover investigations, litigation, corporate outreach, public education, and other advocacy programs. https://cok.net