Feds See Pigs Hit in the Face at JBS; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
March 2, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Beardstown, Ill.

After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) documentation revealing that workers at the JBS slaughterhouse in Beardstown hit two pigs in the face with paddles, causing both animals to cry out, PETA sent a letter today to Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.

“When someone strikes a dog or cat, people rightfully demand that charges be filed, and pigs are also protected by law,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “Pigs feel pain and fear, just like the dogs and cats who share our homes, and PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the violence inflicted on these animals.”

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 Miller follows.

March 2, 2022

The Honorable Craig Miller

Cass County State’s Attorney

Dear Mr. Miller:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against JBS Foods USA and the workers responsible for striking pigs in the face at its slaughterhouse located at 8295 Arenzville Rd. in Beardstown. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in a report that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table. You can find this information in its original format by clicking here and searching for this slaughterhouse’s establishment number, M85B; scrolling to the dates below; and then scrolling to the right.)

According to the reports, on April 6, 2021, an FSIS inspector saw a worker trying to move four pigs. When one pig tried to move past the worker, the federal official saw that the worker “drew back the paddle and struck the hog in the face at about the level of the eyes.” The FSIS agent “heard the impact” of the blow and the pig cry out in response.

Less than a month later, on May 3, 2021, similar abuse occurred. That day, an FSIS official saw that when one pig faced in the direction opposite to that intended by a worker, the worker “drew back the paddle and struck the hog on the left side of the face at approximately the level of the eye and ear.” The federal agent noted that the pig cried out.

This conduct may violate 510 ILCS § 70/30.01; the documented acts aren’t the normal good husbandry practices otherwise exempt from prosecution. Please note that FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under Illinois state law for acts of cruelty to animals. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Dr. Donald Fickey. Thank you for your time and consideration and for the important work that you do.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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