A couple of days ago, a member of Compassion Over Killing, revealed footage that he recorded during the time he worked undercover at a Quality Pork Processors Inc. plant in Minnesota. The video depicted graphic and disturbing images of how pigs are treated during the slaughter process. While the video is not for the fainted hearted, it does shed light on a very real issue in factory farming, and serves as a way to educate the public about what really goes on behind closed doors.
The current Federal Meat Inspection Act regulates a broad range of activities at slaughterhouses to ensure both the safety of meat and the humane handling of animals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has the responsibility to administer FMIA, in order to promote its dual goals of safe meat and humane slaughter. While in a perfect world, the USDA would do its job to properly inspect slaughterhouses; this is not the case here. Often, factory farms get away with cruel and inhumane treatment of animals because no one can show what they were doing due to Ag-Gag laws. It’s simply not fair to animals, or even people who consume the meat without knowing where it came from. While most people don’t mind not knowing what happened to their nice, juicy ham before it got to their plate, there are several people out there that are extremely concerned. I think it is so interesting that even with live footage from undercover operation such as this, people still refuse to acknowledge the cruelty that is going on in factory farming.
According to the current Minnesota laws on slaughter of livestock, “Humane methods” means: (1) Any method of slaughtering livestock which normally causes animals to be rendered insensible to pain by a single blow of a mechanical instrument or shot of a firearm or by chemical, or other means that are rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted, thrown, cast, or cut; or (2) The methods of preparation necessary to safe handling of the animals for Halal ritual slaughter, Jewish ritual slaughter and of slaughtering required by the ritual of the Islamic or Jewish faith, whereby the animal suffers loss of consciousness by anemia of the brain caused by the simultaneous and instantaneous severance of the carotid arteries with a sharp instrument. Minn. Stat. § 31.59. The video from inside the slaughterhouse does not seem very humane to me, but I guess it would be up to a USDA inspector to determine that.
After reading National Meat Association v. Harris, and seeing that not even courts dare to interfere with the conflict between animal rights activists and the agriculture industry, it is disheartening to think about how much longer these animals are going to have to deal with this inhumane treatment. The footage from inside this slaughterhouse is one of many, and ultimately begs the question of whether there is even such a thing as a “humane” slaughterhouse.