Petitioning USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety Carmen Rottenberg and 5 others

Stop the Unhealthy and Inhumane High-Speed Slaughter of Pigs


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is working to expand a flawed pilot program that allows select slaughterhouses to dramatically speed up their slaughter lines, while simultaneously pulling back on government oversight. I recently worked undercover at one of these pilot facilities, and captured on video the shocking ways this program fails to protect animal welfare--and American food safety.

Please join me in telling USDA and Hormel it’s time to stop this high-speed, reduced-inspection pilot program, known as HIMP. By shifting key inspection responsibilities to the slaughterhouses themselves, this program is allowing animal abuse and food safety problems to increasingly go unchecked. Consumers deserve more, not less, oversight in food production.

Before going undercover at Quality Pork Processors in Austin, Minnesota, I knew that I would see appalling abuses and nightmarish animal suffering—that’s unavoidable at a slaughter plant, especially one that processes 1,300 pigs each hour. But what I didn’t expect was how rare it would be to encounter a government inspector on the kill floor, or how many pigs would be processed into Spam or other Hormel products despite being sick, injured, riddled with pus-filled abscesses, or covered in feces.

Even knowing what I did about animal cruelty, I naively believed that the government was at least making sure that the food supply was safe—but I don’t believe that anymore. Now, I know that our government has rubber-stamped a program that gives the profit-driven pork industry free reign to “monitor” itself.

I documented plant employees, under pressure to keep up with the facility’s high operating speeds, dragging, kicking, beating, and excessively shocking pigs. I even saw pigs regaining consciousness on the slaughter line—a major violation of federal law.

But, I never saw the workers being held accountable for these or other abuses, and it’s no wonder—why would a company “inspector” blow the whistle on his coworkers and employer?

Let’s demand that USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service to live up to its name and do just that—meaningfully inspect our nation’s slaughterhouses. It can’t continue to bow to pressure from industry giants like Hormel. We must end this high-speed slaughter program, which replaces highly-trained inspectors with untrained, industry employees—with devastating results for animals, workers, and consumers.

In Solidarity,

“Jay” (Compassion Over Killing undercover investigator)

This petition will be delivered to:
  • USDA Acting Deputy Under Secretary for Food Safety
    Carmen Rottenberg
  • Hormel Chief Executive Officer
    James Snee
  • Hormel Group Vice President, Grocery Products
    Luis Marconi
  • Secretary of Agriculture
    Sonny Perdue
  • USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service Acting Administrator
    Paul Kiecker
  • Hormel Foods

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