New COK Exposé: High-Speed Slaughter Hell at Hormel, Makers of SPAM
“…if the USDA is around, they could shut us down…” -QPP employee
Jan. 19, 2016 Update: 60 Congressmembers sent a letter urging the USDA to halt the expansion of HIMP.
Jan. 21, 2016 Update: The USDA temporarily shut down QPP for “humane handling” violations.
In 2015, a COK investigator worked inside Quality Pork Processors (QPP), a USDA-inspected slaughterhouse in Minnesota that exclusively supplies to Hormel, the makers of SPAM. This shocking footage offers a disturbing, close-up view of the suffering endured by pigs as they are pushed, prodded and dragged to their death.
This facility is one of five in the U.S. operating under a USDA pilot program, known as “HIMP”, that allows for high-speed slaughter and reduced government oversight. That means this facility operates at faster line speeds than almost any other facility in the U.S.: approximately 1,300 pigs are killed each hour, their meat to be sold as SPAM or other Hormel pork products.
The excessive slaughter line speed forces workers to take inhumane shortcuts that lead to extreme suffering for millions of pigs. It also jeopardizes food safety for consumers.
Our video inside this Hormel supplier documents:
- animals being beaten, shocked, dragged, and improperly stunned—all out of view of the few government inspectors
- sick and injured pigs unable to walk, known as “downers,” enduring particularly egregious abuses, since they cannot walk to the kill floor
- pigs covered in feces or pus-filled abscesses being slaughtered and processed for human consumption with a USDA inspection seal of approval
- numerous instances of improper stunning and slaughter, potentially leading to some animals entering the scalding tank while still alive
- a supervisor sleeping on the job when he should have been overseeing the stunning process to ensure workers were following protocol
“The actions depicted in the video under review are appalling and completely unacceptable.” -USDA
By allowing facilities like QPP to operate at increased slaughter speeds combined with reduced oversight, the USDA is essentially giving the profit-driven pork industry a free pass to police itself. This is producing devastating consequences for animals, workers, and consumers.
A 2013 Office of Inspector General Audit Report clearly identifies several concerns about the HIMP pilot program, including food safety and humane animal handling. Last year, several USDA whistleblowers also spoke out about the dangers of this high-speed, reduced-inspection program.
HIMP has been in place for over 10 years, yet the USDA has not yet thoroughly reviewed the program to determine its effectiveness. That announcement is expected in early 2016.
You can make a difference: The best way we can stand up for pigs and all animals is by leaving them off our plates. Start today at TryVeg.com.