For Immediate Release:
July 24, 2023
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Norfolk, Va. – Federal records just obtained by PETA from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reveal that meat from the world’s largest pork producers—Virginia-based Smithfield Foods (a Chinese-owned company) and Swift Pork Company—tested positive for clenbuterol, an illegal drug that increases muscle mass in animals and can cause cardiac problems, tremors, and even death in humans. Just last year, hundreds of people in the Mexican state of Yucatán were thought to have fallen ill after ingesting meat laced with clenbuterol, and in 2011, tainted meat from Smithfield owner Shuanghui (now WH Group) sickened 1,700 people and killed one in China.
The companies had exported the tainted meat from their slaughterhouses in the U.S. to Mexico, where authorities denied entry to the shipments and documented the violation in a memo to the USDA. Following an investigation, the USDA informed Mexican officials that pigs from fairs or shows may have been fed clenbuterol and mixed in with Swift’s “market” hogs, which is illegal since the U.S. only permits the drug for veterinary use in horses. USDA records note that Smithfield management was “unable to provide any monitoring records” to show that the animals they receive are clenbuterol-free.
“An illegal and dangerous drug in the supply chain of the world’s largest pork producers is one more reason people should stop eating animal products now,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA encourages everyone to choose healthy, clean, ‘green’ vegan foods and spare pigs a lifetime of misery.”
Most of the 129 million pigs killed for food each year in the U.S. are confined to filthy enclosures so small that they can barely turn around. Workers chop off piglets’ tails, cut their teeth with pliers, and castrate the males—all without pain relief. At slaughterhouses, workers shoot, electrocute, or gas pigs before hanging them upside down and cutting their throats.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers a free vegan starter kit on its website. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.