Feds See Pig Hit in the Face; PETA Seeks Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release:
February 7, 2023

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Sandusky, Ohio

Following a recently obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture report documenting that a worker at HK Cooperative Inc. outside Sandusky struck a pig in the face twice with a paddle, causing the animal to cry out, PETA sent a letter today to Erie County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin J. Baxter urging him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges. The group notes that a federal inspector previously found pigs confined to pens filled with “fecal sludge,” showing a pattern of illegal animal suffering at this operation.

“At this hell on Earth for animals, a pig already heading to slaughter endured the extra pain and fear of being violently hit in the face,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the prosecuting attorney to investigate HK Cooperative and bring appropriate charges—and reminds everyone that the only humane meal is a vegan one.”

PETA points out that pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do. The group is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse and neglect such as those at HK Cooperative since at least 2007.

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

PETA’s letter to Baxter follows.

February 7, 2023

The Honorable Kevin J. Baxter

Erie County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Baxter:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individual responsible for repeatedly striking a pig in the face at HK Cooperative Inc., located at 4413 W. Bogart Rd. near Sandusky. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in reports that the agency recently made available to the public.

On September 2, 2022, an FSIS inspector saw a worker strike a pig between the eyes and then on the bridge of the nose with a hard plastic paddle. “The hog vocalized both times after being struck on the face,” according to the inspector.

This conduct may violate Ohio Revised Code § 959.13(A)(1). Please note that FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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