An undercover video shot inside a major American slaughterhouse depicts what can only be described as horrific — and potentially unsafe — conditions.
The footage, recorded by the animal rights nonprofit Compassion Over Killing and posted to YouTube, shows pigs, many covered in feces or pus-filled sores, being led to slaughter. In some cases, they are dragged across floors, beaten and violently killed while still conscious — in violation of Department of Agriculture rules, which requires that animals be stunned before killed.
"That one was definitely alive," a male employee says in the video, standing over the carcass of a freshly killed swine. "If the USDA is around, they could shut us down."
The film was shot by an undercover employee at a plant for Quality Pork Processors, which is a major supplier of pork products giant Hormel — the maker of Spam. In a statement to the Washington Post, the company said that the video had been deceptively edited.
"Early on, there may very well be contamination present in the process, but we have multiple interventions that ensure that it will not only be visually removed, but completely removed," Nate Jansen, QPP's vice president of human resources and quality services, told the Washington Post. "Had it been allowed to show the entire sequence of these events, all of these hogs were all handled appropriately."
Compassion Over Killing handed copies of a complete 97-minute video over to both QPP and the USDA; a Washington Post reporter also viewed the footage. The animal rights group dismissed claims that the footage had been distorted.
"Our video speaks for itself," executive director Erica Meier told Mic in an email. "It's no surprise that the industry is desperately hiding behind this so-called video editing claim."
Meier also urged those disturbed by the footage to take action.
"We're encouraging consumers to sign our investigator's Change.org petition, urging the USDA to end this high-speed, reduced-inspection slaughter program," she said. "It's also important to note that, unfortunately, animal abuse is standard practice in animal agribusiness, and we hope after watching our video, caring consumers will stand up for animals every time they sit down to eat by choosing meat-free foods."
The USDA has promised a full investigation if the video is confirmed to be accurate. Watch the full video below:
Editor's note: This video contains disturbing footage. View with discretion.
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