Nothing Could Be More Frightening Than Stepping Into Smithfield's Houses of Horrors This Halloween As the World Battles a Virus That Originated in a Meat Market
For Immediate Release:
October 12, 2020
Megan Wiltsie 202-483-7382
Smithfield, Va. – Halloween will be Halloweird this year because of COVID-19, which originated in a meat market, so PETA is urging locally based Smithfield Foods to share its real-life penchant for blood and guts by opening its slaughterhouses up for public tours. The group points out that even the most hardened gorehound would be bug-eyed to see pigs being turned into bacon and ham and screaming animals’ throats being cut in full view of others on killing floors soaked with blood, feces, urine, and other bodily fluids.
“Smithfield’s slaughterhouses are real haunted houses, where animals’ corpses are dismembered at the rate of roughly 1,500 per hour,” says PETA President Ingrid Newkirk. “PETA’s primary motive is, of course, to have people swear off meat when they see how truly frightful it is to kill animals for a fleeting taste.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” and which opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview—also plans to call on other meat companies to host slaughterhouse tours this Halloween season, as the current pandemic has made it more important than ever to see how meat is made and why people should stop eating it.
For more information, visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Smithfield Foods President and CEO Kenneth M. Sullivan follows.
October 12, 2020
Kenneth M. Sullivan
President and CEO
Dear Mr. Sullivan,
I’m writing on behalf of our more than 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, including hundreds across Virginia, with a suggestion. Because of COVID-19, which originated in a meat market, Halloween is expected to look much different this year, and many haunted houses are getting creative to try to bring in guests. Ahead of the holiday, would you consider temporarily allowing tours of your slaughterhouses during operating hours so that the bravest of meat-eaters and horror fans can see that there’s nothing more terrifying than the cruelty inflicted on animals and workers in the meat industry?
Most people don’t like to think about where their meat comes from when they purchase it in neatly wrapped packages at the supermarket. The animals aren’t cuddled to death. In a tour of your facilities, visitors could witness firsthand how hundreds of pigs are murdered each hour, often improperly stunned before being plunged into the scalding-hot water of hair-removal tanks. There’ll be no need to fake the screams or the blood—guests would hear the pigs squealing as they’re hung upside down right before their throats are slit and their bodies are dismembered. You could consider allowing guests to touch actual instruments of cruelty and death—like the electrified prods used to force sick pigs to walk to their demise—or offer VIP opportunities to be “locked” inside small metal-and-concrete crates to see how long people can stand it for a truly heart-stopping experience.
Guests could sign a disclaimer and then brave the horrors facing the workers every day—slitting animals’ throats above blood- and offal-soaked floors, shoulder to shoulder, with line speeds so fast that animals end up thrashing around and injuring them. This would help them understand why slaughterhouses have been hot spots for the spread of COVID-19 and threaten the health of everyone on the planet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75% of recently emerged infectious diseases in humans came from other animals. SARS, which originated in bats, claimed 774 human lives. H1N1 swine flu—which originated in pigs—killed as many as 575,400 people, and COVID-19 has killed at least a million people so far, including more than 200 slaughterhouse workers.
Paul McCartney once said, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be vegetarian.” We believe this is absolutely true and hope you’ll agree that now, while the world continues to battle the current pandemic, it’s more urgent than ever for humans to face the nightmare of their meat’s origins. Thank you for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.
Very truly yours,
Ingrid E. Newkirk