February 23, 2018

Speak Up for Pigs: Say No to USDA’s Faster Slaughter Proposal

a pig in a dirty holding area

The USDA is at it again, putting forward a reprehensible proposal that puts the welfare of animals, workers and consumers in jeopardy. The New Swine Slaughter Inspection System (NSIS) would eliminate speed limits at pig slaughterhouses and shift certain animal welfare and other oversight responsibilities away from federal inspectors and onto already overworked slaughter plant employees. 

Currently, slaughterhouses in the United States are allowed to operate at break-neck speeds, slaughtering approximately 1,100 pigs every hour for a total of nearly 120 million pigs each year. The NSIS proposal would allow plants to increase these speeds even higher, potentially killing 1,300 or more pigs per hour. 

Faster slaughter speeds threaten the welfare of millions of pigs who are already vulnerable to inhumane handling and unnecessary suffering. Eliminating speed limits would greatly accelerate production, placing even more pressure on workers to move animals quickly, increasing the likelihood that workers will use excessive force like electric prods and rough handling to drive pigs through the line. Faster line speeds can also result in less time to properly stun animals, meaning some pigs may regain consciousness before or during slaughter—which is a violation of federal law.

Just days after the USDA announced this new proposal to remove line speed limits for pig slaughter, the agency officially rejected the National Chicken Council’s petition to speed up poultry slaughter. This decision came in response to over 100,000 comments from the public—including many ASPCA supporters—demanding that USDA reject the line speed increase. Animal advocates spoke up and helped save millions of animals from faster, inhumane slaughter- now we must do the same for pigs.

Take action today and submit a comment telling the USDA that its proposal to eliminate pig slaughter line speeds unacceptably threatens animal welfare, worker well-being, and food safety.