Feds See Pigs Kicked and Hit at Smithfield; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
March 1, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Milan, Mo.

After obtaining U.S. Department of Agriculture documentation revealing that workers kicked a pig, eliciting a cry, and struck other pigs with a hard plastic paddle, including in the head, at the Smithfield slaughterhouse near Milan, PETA sent a letter today to Sullivan County Prosecuting Attorney Brian Keedy calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against those responsible.

“When a person 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 upon 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 Keedy follows.

March 1, 2022

The Honorable Brian Keedy

Sullivan County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Keedy:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against Smithfield Fresh Meats Corp. and the 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) documented the incidents in reports 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, M320M; scrolling to the dates below; and then scrolling right.)

According to the reports, on July 21, 2021, 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.

Then, on September 23, 2021, 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. The documented acts are not the normal, accepted animal husbandry practices otherwise exempt from prosecution. 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. 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

Cruelty Investigations Department

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