COK Grills USDA on High-Speed Slaughter at MD Poultry Conference

by Stuart McDonald

Today, Compassion Over Killing’s Director of Corporate Outreach Laura Cascada took the floor during the Q&A following a USDA presentation at the Delmarva Poultry Industry’s annual conference to hold the federal agency accountable for putting millions of consumers, workers, and animals in danger with its high-speed slaughter plans.

Laura took the agency to task after its Deputy Assistant Administrator of Policy and Program Development Rachel Edelstein, along with Dr. Pamela Abney of the sixth largest poultry producer in the country, Mountaire Farms, spoke about the goals of and “lessons learned” through the USDA’s New Poultry Inspection System — a dangerous and cruel program that places key government inspection duties in the hands of profit-driven slaughterhouses themselves.

While the pair touted the program’s successes, they failed to mention that it hasn’t protected the welfare of consumers, workers, and animals alike–and that under the USDA’s plan to allow more slaughterhouses to run at the reckless speed of 175 birds per minute, problems will become even more rampant.


“There’s already a system in place outlining the specific circumstances that must be met for waivers to be granted. How can the USDA justify circumventing existing law and putting consumers, workers, and animals in danger with this reckless high-speed slaughter plan?” -Laura Cascada, COK Director of Corporate Outreach


In her question at the podium, Laura mentioned that even at current slaughter speeds of more than one bird every 2 seconds, there is extreme suffering: A 2015 Compassion Over Killing investigation of a Mountaire slaughterhouse, for example, found that live birds were thrown, improperly shackled, and even tossed into piles with dead birds as workers rushed to keep up with the line.

Flying the message home were COK’s geofencing ads calling on hundreds in and around the venue to urge the agency to stop the high-speed horrors.

Over 250,000 people have already signed COK’s petition to stop unhealthy and inhumane high-speed slaughter.


Join in TODAY by giving the USDA a quick call at 202-205-0495 using our sample script below!

SAMPLE SCRIPT: Hi, my name is ______, and I’m calling as a concerned consumer to urge you to put the brakes on your high-speed slaughter plans for birds and pigs. Even at current speeds, animal and worker welfare problems are rampant–and speeding them up will only exacerbate suffering. Please protect consumers, workers, and animals alike by ending the high-speed horrors! Thank you.

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