COK & ASPCA Oppose USDA’s High-Speed Slaughter Proposal

by Irina Anta

Compassion Over Killing and ASPCA have hand-delivered a joint comment to the US Dept. of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service in Washington, DC, asking the federal agency to end, not expand, its high-speed pig slaughter program.

In February, the USDA proposed a “Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection” rule, which would revoke maximum line speeds and allow slaughterhouses to kill pigs at whatever speed they choose. The rule would also
reduce the total number of federal inspectors at the plants.

Increasing line speeds would put the welfare of millions of pigs at risk each year. Now, the government wants to expand this pilot program nationwide through the “New Swine Slaughter Inspection System” (NSIS).

Only the meat industry stands to gain from NSIS, which on top of the grave animal welfare risks, raises serious food safety and worker injury concerns.

By decreasing the number of federal inspectors, the USDA effectively places food safety into the hands of untrained plant employees themselves. And slaughterhouse workers already face extremely high injury rates, which would only be exacerbated by increased line speeds.

In their joint comment, COK and ASPCA point out how overwhelming evidence in front of the USDA shows that this proposed rule should not go into effect, and that COK’s investigation of a plant considered a model for the program, “revealed egregious treatment of pigs because of the pressure to keep up with the line speeds.”

In 2015, COK’s investigation into Quality Pork Processors, where 1,300 pigs are killed each hour, revealed that pigs were beaten, shocked, and dragged to the kill floor to keep the lines moving quickly.

The COK and ASPCA comment adds that “FOIA’ed records and whistleblower accounts confirm that fast line speeds result in repeated [Humane Methods of Slaughter Act or HMSA] violations” at facilities operating under the USDA program.

The USDA would also be violating a number of other federal laws and regulations if it were to adopt this rule and privatize inspection, including the Federal Meat Inspection Act.

On April 24, Compassion Over Killing also brought over a quarter million petition signatures to the USDA in Washington, DC, personally delivered by Scott David, COK’s former investigator who worked inside Quality Pork Processors.


TAKE ACTION: Public comments are due TODAY, May 2!
Join us now in opposing this horrendous proposal. Submit a comment to the USDA asking the agency to end, not expand, it’s high-speed slaughter pilot program.

Find sample language at COK.net/notsofast.

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