For Immediate Release:
April 15, 2022
Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382
Windom, Minn. – PETA just received a report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture revealing that 11 pigs died at HyLife Foods’ Windom slaughterhouse after they were left for three days in a pen so crowded that they struggled to reach water—so today, PETA sent a letter to Cottonwood County Attorney Nicholas A. Anderson, calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible. According to the just-released December 2021 report, “[N]umerous hogs were laying on top of each other with no visible floor space left in the pen. Hogs were not able to reach the water without walking on top of each other.”
Just last month, PETA wrote to Anderson after uncovering federal reports that workers shot pigs near the eye and in the head in botched stunning attempts, leaving them conscious, crying out in pain, and trying to escape. 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.
“It violates the cruelty statute to have caused these pigs to die in agony and terror after being crammed for days in a pen under the weight of other thirsty animals,” says PETA Vice President Dan Paden. “PETA urges the prosecutor to immediately launch a criminal investigation into HyLife and the persistent, egregious suffering of pigs there.”
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.
April 15, 2022
The Honorable Nicholas A. Anderson
Cottonwood County Attorney
Dear Mr. Anderson:
I’m writing to follow up on and renew my March 10 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 mistreating pigs at its slaughterhouse located at 2850 Hwy. 60 E. in Windom.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has documented yet another such incident in a report that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.) According to the latest report, on December 13, 2021, an FSIS inspector found a pen at HyLife so severely crowded “that numerous hogs were laying on top of each other with no visible floor space left in the pen. Hogs were not able to reach the water without walking on top of each other.” The federal agent saw dead pigs in the pen and determined that all of these animals had arrived at HyLife three days earlier, on the morning of December 10, 2021. After HyLife personnel separated the pigs, the federal agent learned that 11 of them had died in the crowded pen.
This follows federal reports documenting the following:
- On June 20, 2021, pigs were confined to pens without access to water.
- On August 5, 2021, a worker struck a pig in the face twice with a paddle.
- On August 10, 2021, 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.
- On September 29, 2021, pigs were denied feed for more than 24 hours.
All this may violate Minn. Stat. § 343.21. Please note that FSIS’ action—which is clearly insufficient—carries no criminal or civil penalties and doesn’t preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. Thank you for your time and consideration and for the important work that you do.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis