(Photo: Thammachak Sotiya/Shutterstock.com)

Vegan Groups Take USDA To Court Over Slaughterhouse Pig Welfare Concerns

by | February 10, 2020

Animal rights organizations have raised a lawsuit against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the treatment of sick and injured pigs at slaughterhouses.

The Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has been personally named in the lawsuit, which aims to hold him accountable for “failing to protect pigs”

In an email to Raise Vegan, the animal welfare groups explained that “pigs who are too sick or injured to walk at slaughterhouses” should not be subject to slaughter. The suit alleges this poses “serious risks to animals and food safety.”

“Too sick or injured”

The complaint has been filed in federal court in New York, and reveals that every year “over half a million pigs arrive at U.S. slaughterhouses too sick or injured to stand or walk.”

These animals “are at a heightened risk of carrying a host of human-transmissible pathogens, including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, swine flu, and Yersinia.”

“They are also at a heightened risk of inhumane handling, including being excessively electro-shocked, prodded, kicked, shoved, and dragged by workers attempting to force them to move.”

vegan lawsuit sick pigs
Sick pigs pose a threat to human health when killed for meat (Photo: Dusan Petkovic/Shutterstock.com)

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Vegan Animal Rights Groups

The groups that came together to raise the complaint — many of which are vegan organizations — are Farm Sanctuary, Mercy For Animals, Farm Forward, Animal Welfare Institute, Compassion in World Farming, Animal Outlook, and the Animal Legal Defense Fund.

The collective is being represented by the Animal Law Litigation Clinic at Lewis & Clark Law School.

“Total disregard”

“The federal government continues to treat pigs as industrial commodities to be produced as cheaply as possible,” said Irene Au-Young from the Animal Law Litigation Clinic.

“The law doesn’t allow this total disregard, and this lawsuit will hold the government accountable for forcing sick and injured animals to the killing floor and onto the dinner plates of unsuspecting consumers.”

Do you think the courts will rule in favor of the animals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!


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