For Immediate Release:
September 22, 2022
David Perle 202-483-7382
Worthington, Minn. – Following recently obtained federal reports documenting workers lifting paddles above their heads and repeatedly striking pigs at the JBS slaughterhouse in Worthington, PETA fired off a letter this morning to Nobles County Attorney Joseph M. Sanow calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the workers responsible.
According to the reports, on March 24, 2022, a federal agent saw a JBS worker lift a paddle above his head and strike down on a pig twice. That followed a similar incident on December 10, 2021, in which a federal agent saw a worker raise a paddle “well above his head” and strike down on a group of pigs, sending them “scrambling on top of one another.” Agents have found evidence of at least one additional beating: On March 28, 2022, an inspector “observed a hog with two dark pink distinct rattle paddle bruising marks …. The bruising was so sharp that the bolt holding the paddle together could be distinguished among the contours of the paddle.”
“This slaughterhouse is hell on Earth for animals, where workers wielded paddles as weapons, repeatedly beating pigs,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the county attorney to step in and prevent more illegal suffering by bringing 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 such as those at JBS—the world’s largest slaughterer of animals—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 or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Sanow follows.
September 22, 2022
The Honorable Joseph M. Sanow
Nobles County Attorney
Dear Mr. Sanow:
I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible for lifting paddles above their heads and repeatedly striking pigs at JBS, located at 1700 Hwy. 60 N.E. in Worthington. 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.)
According to the reports, on December 10, 2021, an FSIS agent saw a JBS worker lifting a paddle “well above his head and striking down on a group of hogs.” After realizing that the agent was observing him, the JBS worker “began to only lift the paddle to shoulder height and tap the hogs.”
On March 24, 2022, a federal agent saw a JBS worker “lifting a rattle paddle above his head and striking down on a … hog twice. The paddle struck the lower back of the hog.” JBS video of the incident evidently corroborated the agent’s observations.
FSIS staff found evidence of at least one additional beating. On March 28, an inspector “observed a hog with two dark pink distinct rattle paddle bruising marks across the nape …. The bruising was so sharp that the bolt holding the paddle together could be distinguished among the contours of the paddle.” JBS personnel evidently photographed the bruising.
This conduct may violate Minnesota Statute § 343.21. 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 of this important matter.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department