Feds See More Pigs Beaten at Smithfield; PETA Urges Prosecutor to Act

For Immediate Release:
April 18, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Milan, Mo.

Armed with a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in which a USDA inspector describes an incident in which a truck driver at the Smithfield Fresh Meats Corp. slaughterhouse near Milan “deliberately” struck a pig in the face and jabbed others’ sides and abdomens, PETA sent a letter today to Sullivan County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Keedy renewing its call for a criminal investigation into the workers at the slaughterhouse.

Just last month, PETA wrote to Keedy regarding an incident in which a worker kicked a pig hard in the abdomen and another incident in which a worker was seen hitting pigs on the head and elsewhere with a hard plastic paddle.

“These pigs were highly intelligent, sensitive animals who flinched and cried out in fear and pain when beaten,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “This is the third incident of egregious abuse caught by the feds’ rare spot checks in just a few months at Smithfield, and PETA urges the prosecutor to act today.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Keedy follows.

April 18, 2022

The Honorable Brian Keedy

Sullivan County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Keedy:

I’m writing to follow up on and renew my March 1, 2022, request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the Smithfield Fresh Meats Corp. workers responsible for kicking and beating pigs at its slaughterhouse located at 22123 Highway 5 near Milan.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has documented a third such incident in a report that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table. You can find the latest information in its original format by clicking here and searching for this slaughterhouse’s establishment number, M320M, then scrolling to the dates below and then scrolling right.)

According to the latest report, on November 26, 2021, an FSIS inspector saw a “truck driver deliberately contact the face of a hog multiple times with a paddle. The hog was flinching and closing its eyes with each contact.” The federal agent “then observed the same truck driver using the end of the paddle several times to jab at the sides and bellies of three separate hogs in the trailer. These hogs were vocalizing and running away from the jabs.”

This follows similar incidents on July 21, 2021, when an FSIS inspector saw a worker approach a pig, who was sitting, and kick the animal “hard on the side” near his or her abdomen, causing the pig to cry out, and on September 23, 2021, when a federal official saw a worker striking pigs with a hard plastic paddle, including on the head.

This conduct may violate MO Rev Stat § 578.012. Please note that FSIS’ action—which is clearly insufficient—carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Jeffery Barham. Thank you for your consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

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