USDA Deregulates Pig Slaughterhouses Despite Horrible Consequences for Animals

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Despite pushback from Compassion Over Killing (COK) and other animal, workers’ rights, and consumer advocacy groups, the USDA has pushed forward a new rule deregulating pig slaughter under the guise of “modernization.” But this rule is a dangerous step backwards. Now, COK is criticizing the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) rule, which comes at a time when the public is hungry for transparency in the food system. 

NSIS puts the wellbeing of millions of pigs, workers, and consumers on the line nationwide. The rule transfers many federal inspector duties into the hands of employees of slaughter plants themselves, where there is a vested interest in keeping the slaughter line running at all costs. And, most alarmingly, the rule obliterates all line speed caps. The plants are now allowed to run the slaughter line at any speed they choose.  

“This rule proves that the USDA is willing to benefit the industry at the expense of animals, workers, and consumers. Compassion Over Killing’s investigation at a high-speed plant exposed horrible animal abuse, but the agency has chosen not only to look the other way but to completely revoke maximum line speeds nationwide,” says COK’s General Counsel, Irina Anta

COK has fought this deregulation since our 2015 undercover investigation of Quality Pork Processors (QPP), a supplier of Hormel and one of the fastest slaughter plants in the nation operating under the NSIS pilot program and killing approximately 1,300 pigs each hour—or one pig every 5 seconds. QPP is held up by the USDA as a model example, but COK’s video reveals the horrors hidden behind closed doors: workers beating, shocking, and dragging animals as they struggle to keep up with line speeds, and pigs covered in feces and pus-filled abscess processed for human consumption—with a USDA inspection seal of approval. 

Our efforts against this dangerous rule have been joined by the voices of more than a quarter million consumers, and in April 2018, COK’s former investigator who witnessed the horrors of high-speed slaughter firsthand delivered their petition signatures to USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.

In its fight against NSIS, COK is joined by dozens of other animal, environmental, consumer, and worker protection organizations. Yet instead of preserving bare minimum protections for workers and animals in an already dangerous industry, the USDA’s decision to expand this reckless program nationwide will put meat industry profits first.

This barbaric rule will be implemented despite consumer objections, but there is still a way for us to tell the USDA that we can’t condone the cruelty that comes with high-speed slaughter. We must take action now by boycotting the dangerous meat industry. With tips and recipes from, make your next meal a vegan one. 

Take action to support Compassion Over Killing’s legal and investigative teams fighting this cruelty behind the closed doors of animal agriculture: set up your monthly donation today.

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