Compassion Over Killing (COK), a national animal protection organization, filed in Minn. state court this week a complaint alleging criminal animal cruelty based on undercover video filmed inside Quality Pork Processors (QPP). The Austin, Minn. pig slaughter plant supplies exclusively to Hormel Foods.
The filing in Mower County District Court applies the state law, Minn. Stat. § 343.22, allowing private citizens to request a warrant and investigation upon an allegation of animal cruelty. The complaint was filed with legal assistance from David Ebert.
COK’s gut-wrenching video has been viewed by millions, going viral and sparking international headlines. The undercover footage, released in late 2015, revealed QPP employees engaging in abusive conduct, including:
- animals being beaten, shocked, dragged – all out of view of federal government inspectors
- sick and injured pigs, known as “downers,” enduring egregious abuses, since they could not walk to the kill floor
- numerous instances of improper stunning and slaughter, potentially leading to some animals entering the scalding tank while still alive
- a QPP supervisor sleeping when he should have been overseeing the stunning process
“We’re confident our evidence shows blatant violations of Minnesota criminal animal cruelty law,” says Cheryl Leahy, General Counsel for Compassion Over Killing. “State authorities have declined to take action, despite having indisputable video proof of the abuse, so we’ve decided to use the legal recourse available in Minnesota to stand up for animals.”
After reviewing our video, the USDA stated the documented actions “are appalling and completely unacceptable.” The agency later concluded, “Had these actions been observed by FSIS inspectors, they would have resulted in immediate regulatory action against the plant.”
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