COK Investigations Reveal The Terrifying Truth Behind Slaughterhouse Doors

by Stuart McDonald


This month we’re surrounded by goblins, ghouls, and other ghastly things. But every day in the United States and around the world, haunted houses operate–complete with blood-curdling screams of pain and agony.

Except these aren’t fake, and they’re open year-round.

Billions of animals are slaughtered in these houses of horrors each year. And although the meat industry wants us to believe that animals are slaughtered “humanely,” Compassion Over Killing investigations reveal the true horrors time and again.

The truth is, “humane meat” does not exist. Companies’ commitments to animal welfare are all for show. At the end of the day, the slaughterhouse is the last place an animal wants to be. Forced down the kill line with prods and electric shocks, animals full of fear and attempting to escape are marched to their deaths.

COK’s brave investigators go inside these houses of horrors to expose what really happens behind closed doors. Here’s some of what they’ve found.


High-Speed Horror

In 2015, a Compassion Over Killing investigator worked inside Quality Pork Processors–a pig slaughtering plant that exclusively supplies to Hormel, the maker of SPAM and other pork products. This plant is part of a USDA pilot program known as “HIMP” that allows for slaughterhouses to operate at faster speeds (think 1,300 pigs killed per hour) while decreasing the number of trained government inspectors on the line. Now out from behind the camera, former investigator Scott David has described what he witnessed: “QPP has widely been considered a model for the USDA’s nationwide expansion of the pilot program…but when no one thought the public or USDA was watching, behind the slaughterhouse’s closed doors, I documented pig carcasses covered in feces and abscesses being processed for human consumption, and workers – under intense pressure to keep up with high line speeds – beating, dragging, and electrically prodding pigs to make them move faster.” Hed even documented a supervisor sleeping on the job.

Despite these egregious abuses, the USDA is moving forward with its high-speed slaughter program, considering expanding it nationwide — making these slaughterhouses even more dangerous for animals, workers, and consumers.


Dairy is Scary

In the dairy industry, cows endure a barbaric cycle of cruelty. Dairy cows are forcibly impregnated by artificial insemination each year. And every time they give birth, their calf is taken away almost immediately so that the milk produced for the baby can instead be taken for human consumption. After they are stolen from their mothers, most female calves will be entered back into the cycle to be impregnated and produce milk, while males are sold for veal or beef.

A dairy farm is far from a happy place for cows. As COK investigators revealed, factory operations like Mason Dixon Farms in Pennsylvania are hell on earth. COK’s video shows cows being kicked in the face, punched in their sensitive udders, and getting stuck on troughs and walls in hazardous and filthy conditions.

While this horrific farm still operates, COK’s footage led to animal cruelty charges against one of the offending workers.


A Tradition of Torture

In the US, more than 8 billion chickens spend their entire short lives on factory farms, often suffering from respiratory ailments, crippling leg deformities, and even abuse before being trucked to slaughter.

Genetically manipulated for unnatural rapid growth, chickens reach slaughter weight at just 45 days old. If humans grew at the same rate as a factory-farmed chicken, we’d weigh 660 pounds by the time we turned two months old.

When COK investigated a Mountaire chicken slaughterhouse in North Carolina, what they witnessed was shocking. Footage reveals birds being thrown around the facility, punched and pushed by workers, having their feathers ripped out, and even injured chickens being tossed into piles and left for dead.

This terror and mistreatment is standard practice for the chicken slaughter industry, and like the pig industry, the USDA is only intensifying the problem with high-speed slaughter programs.

Factory Farm Devastation

The Aftermath of Hurricane Florence

After Hurricane Florence pummeled North Carolina this September, COK investigators went to survey the damage. What they found was shocking.

Farmed animals, abandoned to face the deadly storm, drowned or died in the ruin.

Other horrors were uncovered, too. Photographing farms from above, COK investigators spotted cesspools of toxic animal waste that had burst or flooded. In the floods, the contents of these cesspools flowed into the environment and surrounding communities–many of which were part of the important, heavily populated Cape Fear Watershed.

The storm claimed over 4 million animal lives, including pigs, chickens, and turkeys. Many of these animals were confined in the overcrowded sheds they are raised in, unable to escape when farms flooded. Those who were able to survive the initial flooding had no access to food or clean water.

Equipped with their cameras yet again, our investigators were able to expose the heartbreaking destruction and shine a light on the high cost of animal agriculture.

The vast majority of farmed animals are, more often than not, raised in overcrowded and filthy conditions in factory farms. Subjected to painful medical procedures like debeaking, they live in misery for the short few months it takes them to reach “market weight” and be taken to slaughter. But regardless of how animals are raised–even if they are the lucky few with slightly more comfortable lives–their lives will end the same: at the slaughterhouse.

This Halloween, help us stop the horrors.

Start by making this Halloween a compassionate one! Opt for one of many vegan candy choices. Then head over to for tips to stop the horror and keep death off your plate.

For more insight into the life of an undercover investigator working inside this horrific industry, keep up with our Investigator Series blogs. Monthly donors receive investigator stories directly to their inbox!

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