Federal Agencies Charge Finca el Novillo, Florida Pork Company, for Inhumane Slaughter
The Humane Society of the United States praised the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, for investigating and bringing criminal charges against the owners of South Florida-based pork company, Finca El Novillo, for alleged violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and the Federal Meat Inspection Act. According to a U.S. Attorney’s Office press release, the indictment follows an investigation by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service which found that the company was slaughtering pigs without first rendering them insensible to pain.
“We applaud the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for enforcing the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and cracking down on these slaughterhouse abuses,” stated Paul Shapiro, vice president of farm animal protection for The HSUS. “No animal should be slaughtered while fully conscious, and the pork industry needs to start taking animal welfare a lot more seriously—both in slaughter plants and on factory farms.”
While mistreatment of pigs during slaughter is common in this industry, such abuses rarely result in indictments. USDA Noncompliance Records show that pig slaughtering facilities are often failing to render pigs unconscious before slaughter, and cruelty occurs at large facilities of companies such as Tyson Foods. Abuses documented by USDA at Tyson slaughter facilities in recent years include moving conscious pigs with bulldozers, piling conscious pigs on top of one another, dropping pigs from bone-breaking heights, dragging disabled pigs by the ears, and leaving severely injured pigs in pens to suffer in agony indefinitely.
The U.S. pork industry has a history of inhumane practices, and works to thwart animal welfare laws even when they have nothing to do with pork production, such as the legislation now in Congress supported by animal protection groups and the egg industry to improve the treatment of laying hens. The pork industry recently went to the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down a California state law barring the slaughter of downed pigs too sick or injured to walk.
The pork industry has also been widely criticized for its use of gestation crates to confine breeding pigs. These two-foot-wide metal cages are roughly the same size as the animals’ bodies and virtually immobilize sows for their entire lives. In 2012 alone, Costco, McDonald’s, Burger King, Wendy’s, Safeway, Oscar Mayer, Kroger and many other leading food companies have enacted policies to eliminate these crates from their supply chains.