Video of Slaughterhouse Abuse Prompts Call to Stop Killing Pigs

Workers Beat and Kicked Pigs, Slashed Conscious Animal’s Throat—PETA Says Incidents Warrant Livestreaming, Switch to Butchering Wildlife Killed by Cars

For Immediate Release:
July 15, 2020

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Sacramento, Calif.

Following Direct Action Everywhere’s (DxE) release of video footage showing workers at Yosemite Foods, Inc.—a slaughterhouse near Stockton used by Smithfield—beating and kicking pigs and evidently conscious pigs struggling after their throats were slashed, PETA fired off a letter today calling for an operational overhaul at the slaughterhouse.

Noting that DxE’s findings echo federal officials’ report of an incident in September—in which a worker stabbed an obviously conscious pig, who screamed and kicked—PETA urges the slaughterhouse to stop killing pigs and to livestream video footage from the facility in order to help prevent workers from mishandling and abusing the animals killed there. Or preferably, it could stop killing farmed animals altogether and switch to butchering only wild animals who’ve already been killed in collisions with vehicles and salvaged by customers, as state law will allow by 2022.

“PETA’s friends at Direct Action Everywhere have revealed that sensitive pigs experienced agonizing, prolonged deaths for bacon, ham, and sausage,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is urging Yosemite Foods to livestream its slaughter operations—or end them altogether—and encouraging anyone disturbed by this video footage to help keep animals out of slaughterhouses everywhere by going vegan.”

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat,” and the group opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. PETA also urged Yosemite Foods to report the staff responsible for the violence shown in the video and noted in the federal report to local law enforcement and reassign them to positions that don’t involve contact with live animals.

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PETA’s letter to Steven Lau, president of Yosemite Foods, follows.

July 15, 2020

Steven Lau


Yosemite Foods, Inc.

Dear Mr. Lau,

Breaking video, recorded at Yosemite Foods, shows workers beating and kicking pigs. Pigs shackled by a leg and hanging upside down are shown crying out and struggling to right themselves—showing that they were regaining consciousness after they were gassed with carbon dioxide and their throats were slashed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture documented this latter egregious and cruel act at your facility last September, when a worker plunged a knife into an obviously conscious pig, who immediately screamed and kicked frantically as anyone would.

In light of the pain and terror that these animals have endured, we would like you to give serious thought to stopping slaughtering pigs at Yosemite Foods. Rather than risking committing similar violations in the future, you could focus on minimizing the stress and suffering of the other farmed animals you slaughter.

We also ask that you publicly livestream video footage from all areas of your facility where live animals are handled. Your workers would surely take more seriously their duty to handle animals lawfully if they knew that people were watching. The world’s foremost expert on livestock welfare, Dr. Temple Grandin, writes, “Plants [t]hat are doing a good job should show what they are doing.” Members of your industry often complain that consumers today don’t understand how animals are raised and killed for food. You could shed light on this by allowing the public to observe your workers as they move countless animals—individuals who value their lives—off crowded trucks in all weather extremes, often hitting and kicking them; attempt to stun them; slash their throats; and then bleed them to death.

What action, if any, have you taken against your staff members referenced in the federal report and shown in the video? Have you reassigned them to jobs that don’t involve contact with live animals—such as evisceration, butchering, and packaging—and reported them to your local law-enforcement agency so that they might be investigated for violations of California’s anti-cruelty statute?

Finally, if you want to stay in this kind of business without causing animals to suffer needlessly, you could switch to butchering exclusively animals killed in collisions with vehicles and legally salvaged by customers who wish to eat their flesh, as state law will allow by 2022. May we hear from you?


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

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