Feds See Trapped Pig Beaten in the Face; PETA Seeks Criminal Charges

For Immediate Release:
October 26, 2023

Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382

Peoria, Ill.

Following a recently obtained federal report revealing that a truck driver hit a pig in the face with a paddle at least five times at Calihan Pork Processors in Peoria, PETA fired off a letter this afternoon to Peoria County State’s Attorney Jodi M. Hoos calling on her to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the person responsible.

According to the report, on June 27 a federal agent observed that a pig’s right hind leg became stuck as she and others were being unloaded off a truck at the slaughterhouse. As she was “hunched over,” “squealing,” and desperately trying to free her leg, the driver approached her and hit her violently and repeatedly on the side of her face, causing her to scream even more loudly.

“This terrified pig was viciously beaten by a driver who made the last moments of her life even more agonizing,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the state’s 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 the one at Calihan Pork Processors 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, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Hoos follows.

October 26, 2023

The Honorable Jodi M. Hoos

Peoria County State’s Attorney

Dear Ms. Hoos:

I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individual responsible for beating a trapped pig on the face at Calihan Pork Processors LLC, located at 1 South St. in Peoria. 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 June 27 an inspector saw a sow become trapped by her right hind leg as a truck driver was unloading her and others at the slaughterhouse. According to the report, the “sow was squealing and hunched over trying to get her leg free,” prompting the inspector to yell, “Her leg is stuck,” at the driver and a Calihan Pork employee. “The driver then proceeded to hit the sow at least 5 times on the side of the face with [a] rattle paddle,” according to the report. The inspector added, “The truck driver hit her with enough force that she started vocalizing louder than she had been while still trying to get her leg unstuck.”

This conduct appears to violate 510 ILCS § 70/3.01(a), which prohibits the beating of animals. Please note that the FSIS’ report carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. Given that the FSIS hasn’t initiated a criminal prosecution of a licensed slaughterhouse for inhumane handling since at least 2007, charges under state law are this victim’s only chance at a measure of justice.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis


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