Smithfield-Bound Truck Runs off the Road, Kills Pigs

Published by Elena Waldman.

On November 13, 2020, a tractor-trailer with at least 160 slaughter-bound pigs overturned, in the 17th wreck that PETA has documented involving trucks headed to a single Smithfield Foods slaughterhouse in Virginia.

The truck driver ran off the road in Suffolk, Virginia, rolling the trailer onto its side and totaling the vehicle. The catastrophic crash left eight of the pigs with such severe injuries that they were killed on site. How many of them died on impact or in the hours that followed is unknown. Gruesome footage that PETA obtained from police shows pigs crying out from the overturned trailer, which they were apparently trapped in for at least four hours:

Eventually, workers removed the survivors from the demolished vehicle, put them on another crowded truck, and sent them through the dark to the slaughterhouse, where they would be gassed and slashed across the throat.

Originally Posted on November 20

On October 15, 2020, a tractor-trailer driving more than 100 pigs to be slaughtered at Smithfield Foods in Smithfield, Virginia, didn’t reach its destination—where workers hang pigs upside down and slit their throats. Instead, it collided head-on with another vehicle.

The crash—which occurred just a few miles south of Smithfield Foods on Route 258 in Isle of Wight County, Virginia—was yet another incident in Smithfield’s long history of truck accidents that PETA has been documenting since 1998. Photographs and video footage of the accident’s aftermath, which we obtained from police agencies via public records requests, shine a light on what pigs endure while being transported, in addition to harsh weather extremes and extremely cramped trucks.

After the chaos of the head-on collision, the severely crowded animals cried out from the trailer, surrounded by flashing lights and loud noises. Eventually, transporters hauled the animals to the bloody facility, where they were all to be slashed across the throat the next day.

Smithfield Foods hasn’t answered questions about what happened to the pigs who were injured in the accident. Were they at least put out of their misery immediately, rather than being forced to languish overnight before being shot and relieved of their pain? PETA doesn’t know—but what we do know is that pigs at Smithfield suffer horribly whether they make it to the slaughterhouse alive or not.

These wrecks are so frequent that a police trooper at the scene of this accident even recognized a Smithfield Foods manager after having dealt with him in the aftermath of previous crashes. According to the trooper’s dash-cam video, the manager said that he was “tired of cleaning” up after these incidents.

Previous Smithfield truck accident

Decade after decade, we’ve seen pigs left mangled, bloody, and broken, sometimes with their intestines hanging from their anuses, beside roads at the scene of Smithfield-bound truck wrecks. We’ve heard them crying from trailers tipped over by careless drivers. We’ve seen workers shoot them in the head with malfunctioning or misdirected captive-bolt guns.

We have pushed the company to do better by pigs involved in these preventable, ghastly scenes. However, the most noticeable change that Smithfield has made in responding to these wrecks is that it’s bringing more tarps to prevent the media and concerned residents from seeing how workers try to kill the injured animals and roughly handle those who will still be butchered for profit.

Pigs do not deserve to be crammed inside metal trailers and hauled hundreds of miles in all weather extremes to endure a terrifying death. They do not deserve any of what Smithfield puts them through—including being locked inside crates so small that they can hardly move, being denied the chance to root in the soil, being shoved into gas chambers, and being slashed across the throat. You can spare them the unrelenting misery and fear of the pork industry: Simply stop eating them today.

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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind