New Whistleblowing Exposé Uncovers Rampant Cruelty at USDA-Approved High-Speed Slaughter Plant Supplying Hormel

Video reveals pigs being prodded and dragged to their deaths for SPAM

Today, Compassion Over Killing released a new undercover video filmed by an investigator who worked inside Quality Pork Processors (QPP), a USDA-inspected slaughterhouse in Minnesota that exclusively supplies Hormel, the makers of SPAM. This shocking footage offers a disturbing, close-up view of the suffering endured by pigs as they’re pushed, prodded and dragged to their deaths.

The facility is one of five in the US 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 US: approximately 1,300 pigs are killed each hour for SPAM and other Hormel pork products.

“The abuses we uncovered at Hormel reveal a high-speed slaughter hell for pigs,” says COK’s Executive Director Erica Meier.  “Workers are taking inhumane shortcuts to keep the kill lines moving, and with fewer government inspectors on site, this flawed self-inspection system is also jeopardizing food safety.”  

COK’s 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 and 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   

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.

For more details and the investigation video, visit http://cok.net/inv/hormel