Feds See Pigs Repeatedly Beaten; PETA Seeks Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release:
August 17, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Ottumwa, Iowa – Following a recently published federal report documenting that pigs cried out repeatedly as they were beaten on the back and the head at the Swift Pork Company slaughterhouse in Ottumwa, PETA fired off a letter today to Wapello County Attorney Reuben Neff calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the worker responsible.

According to the report, on March 14 a truck driver used a plastic shaker can like a hammer to strike multiple pigs—up to seven times each—as they loudly cried out. The trucker beat other pigs on the head with a board as the animals piled on top of each other in a desperate attempt to get down the ramp off the truck.

“This slaughterhouse is hell on Earth for animals, where pigs cried out in terror as they were beaten mercilessly,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the Wapello County attorney to step in and prevent more illegal suffering by investigating and 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 Swift 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 Neff follows.

August 17, 2022

The Honorable Reuben Neff

Wapello County Attorney

Dear Mr. Neff:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the worker responsible for beating pigs, including on the head, at the Swift Pork Company (“Swift”) slaughterhouse located at 600 S. Iowa Ave. in Ottumwa. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in a report that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.)

According to the report, on March 14, a federal agent saw a truck driver “striking numerous hogs … on the back with his plastic shaker can, eliciting loud vocalizations from the hogs. His use of the shaker can was similar in motion as a person using a hammer with moderate force.” Then, the FSIS inspector “observed … [him] striking one of the hogs five to seven times on the back. … He bounced [a] sort board up and down on top of the hogs heads and back, concurrently as he was striking adjacent hogs with the shaker can. … The hogs continued to vocalize loudly, as they frantically turned into one another. … [T]he driver continued to strike the hogs on the back of the group forcing them to pile on the ones at the top of the ramp and continued until the hogs rode one another down the ramp.”

This conduct may violate Iowa Code § 717.1A or § 717.2. The documented acts are not the customary 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. Thank you for your time and consideration.


Daniel Paden
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind