Feds See Pigs Shot, Struck, Denied Food and Water at HyLife Foods; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
March 10, 2022

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Windom, Minn.

After U.S. Department of Agriculture documents surfaced detailing the repeated shooting and other mistreatment of pigs at HyLife Foods’ Windom slaughterhouse, PETA sent a letter today to Cottonwood County Attorney Nicholas A. Anderson asking him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible. The documents revealed that in botched stunning attempts, workers shot pigs near the eye and in the head, leaving them conscious, crying out in pain, and trying to move away from the workers. Pigs were also denied food for more than 24 hours, had no access to water, and were repeatedly hit in the face with a paddle.

“When someone abuses a dog or cat, people rightfully demand that charges be filed, and pigs are intelligent animals who deserve no lesser consideration,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden. “PETA calls for a criminal investigation into the egregious abuse and neglect of these pigs, who are protected under Minnesota law like the dogs and cats who share our homes.”

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 Anderson follows.

March 10, 2022

The Honorable Nicholas A. Anderson
Cottonwood County Attorney

Dear Mr. Anderson:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against HyLife Foods Windom LLC and the workers responsible for repeatedly shooting pigs in the head, striking one in the face, and denying others food and water at its slaughterhouse located at 2850 Hwy. 60 E. in Windom. 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, M45856; scrolling to the dates below; and then scrolling to the right.)

According to reports, on June 20, 2021, a federal official found that pigs were confined to pens without access to water. On August 5, 2021, an FSIS inspector saw a worker strike a pig in the face twice with a paddle. Five days later, a worker shot a pig near the left eye, leaving the conscious animal trying to walk away from the worker, before a second shot ended the pig’s suffering. On September 20, 2021, a worker shot another pig in the head, after which the animal cried out, stood up, and tried to move away from the worker. A second shot finally stunned the pig. Then, on September 29, 2021, an FSIS agent found that pigs had been denied feed for more than 24 hours after being brought to the slaughterhouse and confined to pens.

This conduct may violate MINN. STAT. § 343.21. Please note that FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. For more details on FSIS’ findings, please contact District Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls. 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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