Last night, Minnesota’s Austin Daily Herald reported that the USDA temporarily shut down Quality Pork Products (QPP) for humane handling violations.
Based in Austin, MN, QPP is an exclusive Hormel supplier that was the center of an investigation released this past fall. It operates under a controversial USDA-approved pilot program known as HIMP, which allows for fewer government inspectors on site and permits slaughter lines to run at faster speeds than non-HIMP facilities.
Few details of this humane handling violation are available, but according to the article, the incident happened in the holding area, where pigs are kept prior to being moved to the kill floor. The USDA was on site, and operations were halted Tuesday evening through Wednesday morning, and the facility is now back in operation.
This news comes just one day after 60 members of Congress sent a letter urging the USDA to halt the expansion of HIMP based on concerns about food safety as well as animal welfare. The letter cites Animal Outlook’s investigation, noting that “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 pig slaughter plants operate under the high-speed HIMP pilot program, and there is mounting pressure on the USDA to stop a potential expansion into all pig slaughter facilities nationwide. More than 175,000 people, including several compassionate Hollywood celebrities, have signed our investigator’s petition — please lend your voice by signing and sharing.