Slaughterhouse’s COVID-19 Closure Prompts PETA Protest

With Fatal Viruses Linked to the Meat Industry, Smithfield Foods, Inc., Urged to Sell Vegan Pork

For Immediate Release:
April 10, 2020

Brooke Rossi 202-483-7382

Sioux Falls, S.D. – Brandishing signs proclaiming, “Smithfield: Stay Closed for Everyone’s Sake,” and “Retrain the Workers: Make Plant-Based Pork,” PETA representatives will be outside the Smithfield pig slaughterhouse, which was shuttered after nearly 200 of its employees tested positive for COVID-19—to call on the company to retrain its workers to make vegan pork instead. The top two dairies in the U.S. have declared bankruptcy because of falling demand, and PETA believes that Smithfield shouldn’t wait to change its business model.

When:    Monday, April 13, 12 noon

Where:    Smithfield Foods, Inc., slaughterhouse, 1400 N. Weber Ave., Sioux Falls

“By providing breeding grounds for swine flu, SARS, avian flu, and other diseases, filthy slaughterhouses and meat markets threaten the health of every human being on the planet,” says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. “PETA suggests that Smithfield stay closed unless it can reinvent itself as a producer of healthy and 100% humane vegan pork.”

Swine flu began on a U.S. factory farm, and the novel coronavirus originated in a Chinese “wet market,” where live and dead animals were sold for human consumption. Health authorities confirm that influenza viruses and coronaviruses are zoonotic (transmissible from other animals to humans). Previous influenza viruses originated in pigs and chickens. Vegan pork is already produced by Simple Truth, Tofurky, Beyond Meat, and other brands and is becoming more and more popular as people turn to a vegan diet because of health, environmental, and animal welfare concerns.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind