Stop the Slaughter of Sick Pigs

Stop the Slaughter of Sick Pigs

Target: Tom Vilsack, USDA Secretary

Goal: Stop the mistreatment and slaughter of pigs that are too sick or injured to walk to slaughter

A sickening practice in the already controversial meat production industry is that of killing animals too weak and sick to walk to slaughter: “downer” animals. The USDA banned downer cows in 2009 when studies found that they were more likely to carry “mad cow disease,” which could be passed onto humans who ate the infected meat. Moreover, workers in meat production facilities are notorious for using horrific tactics to force sick animals to slaughter. By banning downer animals from being sold, workers no longer have to resort to such crude tactics. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), along with a coalition of animal rights groups, has petitioned the USDA to ban downer pigs from the human food supply. Sign this petition to support the ALDF and protect both human health and the sick pigs that are mistreated so horribly.

There are two major issues with the practice of slaughtering downer pigs: sick animals could pose a threat to human health—the reason why downer cows were banned from the human food supply in 2009; and also, there are ethical issues with the treatment of animals too weak to walk to their own slaughter. In several undercover investigations, employees at slaughter facilities have been documented kicking, striking, and even ramming pigs with forklift trucks in order to move them to their deaths. If downer pigs were banned from the food supply, there would be no reason for their mistreatment, and it would also improve the welfare of healthy pigs by ensuring that they are kept healthy by workers.

This solution is not the perfect scenario by any means. The meat production industry has a lot to account for. However, when the opportunity comes to make a little bit of difference in the lives of animals, we must take it. Sign this petition to protect downer pigs from being mistreated and taken to slaughter, and advocate for their humane treatment.


Dear Mr. Vilsack,

I write in support of the Animal Legal Defense Fund and associated animal welfare groups in their plight to remove “downer” pigs from the human food supply.

Downer animals (those too weak or sick to walk to their slaughter) pose a serious threat to human health, and have to endure horrific treatment to force them to their deaths. Downer cows were banned in 2009 by the USDA due to the scare of mad cow disease and its threat to the public. The time has come to ban downer pigs, too.

If sick animals were banned from slaughter and euthanized humanely instead, it would not only protect public health, but also the welfare of healthy animals. When sick animals are no longer allowed to be sold, workers would be forced to treat their livestock with more care, and maintain a higher standard of welfare.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Thomas Bjørkan via Wikimedia Commons

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