Target: Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack
Goal: Enforce animal welfare laws at slaughter plants
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for making sure that animals that are slaughtered are done so in a humane way, in accordance to the animal welfare laws that cover slaughter plants. However, it seems that animal welfare is not being taken seriously by those who work in these plants, which leads to violations of these laws.
Whistleblowing inspectors from the United States Department of Agriculture have been repeatedly transferred to new facilities after revealing the abuse that goes on at slaughter plants. According to the Kansas City Star, Jim Schrier, an inspector who came forward and revealed abuse going on at Tyson’s Columbus Junction, an Iowa slaughter plant, has been transferred to a job two hours away from his home. Iowa passed an “ag-gag” bill that does not allow animal rights groups to conduct investigations, so United States Department of Agriculture investigators are all who stand between these animals and abuse. The Humane Society of the United States viewed slaughter violation reports and saw that Tyson’s Columbus Junction plant had not had a violation since 2010, which speaks to inspectors not being allowed to do their jobs. An inspector there in 2013 said in his report that a pig not healthy enough for slaughter was abused by being shocked with a captive bolt gun repeatedly, with the animal squealing and blood coming from its nose, clearly in pain.
The USDA is in charge of enforcing their own laws, and they are not. Many inspectors who are doing their jobs are facing retaliation by their employer. Tell the USDA to enforce animal welfare laws at slaughter plants.
Photo credit: Giang Hồ Thị Hoàng via flickr