Nothing ruins a road trip more than seeing an 18-wheeler driving down the highway crammed tight with animals destined for slaughter. From state to state, regardless of weather, animals are carted from factory farms and feedlots—where they suffer short, miserable lives—to slaughterhouses, where their throats are cut or they are scalded alive in baths of hot water. In transit, they are forced to face the blazing summer heat or freezing winter winds while being deprived of food, water, or rest—and sometimes they become the victims of highway accidents.
Today, we’re thrilled to report that at PETA’s request, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has instructed its 8,000 inspectors in procedures to help enforce the 28-Hour Law—a federal statute requiring that cows, pigs, and other farmed animals be fed, watered, and allowed to rest after 28 hours on the road. As a result of this regulatory nudge, transport conditions will improve for the estimated 50 million farmed animals who are annually transported for long distances and denied their basic necessities.
The FSIS’s notice to its inspectors helps address the deplorable treatment of animals in transit from factory farms to slaughterhouses. A former pig transporter told PETA that pigs are “packed in so tight, their guts actually pop out their butts—a little softball of guts actually comes out.” In hot weather, many cows who are on their way to slaughter collapse in the heat, and in the cold, cows sometimes freeze to the sides of the truck until workers pry them off with crowbars. Like cows and pigs, chickens are usually given no food or water and are shipped through all weather conditions. People who spot chicken-transport trucks on the highway frequently report seeing the heads of dead and dying chickens protruding from the crates.
We applaud FSIS for informing its inspectors of how they can report suspected violations of the 28-Hour Law for investigation. Of course, the only true way to prevent the suffering of animals used for food is to go vegan, but with these landmark actions, what was once a nightmarish and often fatal trip will hopefully become a little more bearable.
Written by Logan Scherer