My husband Jim Schrier and I both worked as USDA meat inspectors at a Tyson Foods slaughter plant near our home in Columbus Junction, Iowa. Now Jim, who has been dutifully serving as a USDA meat inspector for 29 years, is being forced to work over 100 miles away from his family simply for doing his job and enforcing humane slaughtering laws.
Under the federal law, pigs are required to be completely unconscious and unable to feel pain prior to shackling. At the Tyson Foods slaughter plant, Jim witnessed that pigs being shackled for slaughter were kicking and thrashing violently, a direct violation of federal regulations. He also witnessed that many pigs were having to be stunned after being shackled, indicating that the animals had not been stunned properly beforehand.
Jim couldn’t remain silent and allow pigs to suffer needlessly. He raised these concerns immediately to his supervisors. But they don’t share his conviction or support him when he tries to enforce the law. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
After Jim blew the whistle on wrongdoing the agency sent him to work at another facility 120 miles away as a means of whistleblower retaliation. Now the USDA has unfairly decided to reassign him permanently to a facility in another state. To keep his job, he will have to leave his family, friends, and home.
Other USDA inspectors at the Tyson plant had concerns over humane handling, too. But for now, Jim was the only one who has come forward to speak out. Others fear retaliation and keep quiet so they don't face the same dire consequences that Jim has endured. But nobody should be punished for being honest on the job.
Please join me in asking the USDA to stop penalizing Jim for speaking the truth and to bring my husband back home to Columbus Junction!