For Immediate Release:
January 23, 2024
Brittney Williams 202-483-7382
Luverne, Minn. – Following recently obtained federal reports documenting workers repeatedly striking pigs with paddles at Premium Minnesota Pork in Luverne, PETA fired off a letter this morning to Rock County Attorney Jeff Haubrich calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the workers responsible.
According to the reports, on August 14, 2023, a federal agent saw a transport truck driver for the slaughterhouse hit a pig in the face twice with a paddle. The inspector intervened, only to be cursed at by the driver. That followed a similar incident on October 26, 2022, in which an inspector saw a driver use a paddle to strike a pig up to six times before attempting to push the animal with his knee. And on December 19, 2022, a worker raised his foot to “hit” and/or push a “reluctant” pig.
“This slaughterhouse is hell on Earth for animals, where workers wielded paddles and even their own foot as weapons to harm vulnerable pigs,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling on the county attorney to step in and prevent more illegal suffering by bringing appropriate charges—and reminds everyone that the only humane meal is a vegan one.”
PETA points out that pigs, cows, sheep, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do. The group is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse such as those at Premium Minnesota Pork since at least 2007.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—points out that Every Animal Is Someone and offers free Empathy Kits for people who need a lesson in kindness. For more information, please visit PETA.org or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Haubrich follows.
January 23, 2024
The Honorable Jeff Haubrich
Rock County Attorney
Dear Mr. Haubrich:
I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individuals responsible for repeatedly striking two pigs—including in the face—and kicking a third one at Premium Minnesota Pork LLC, located at 1174 County Hwy. 4 in Luverne. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in reports that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.) According to those reports, the following occurred:
- On August 14, 2023, an FSIS inspector saw a driver strike a slow-moving pig in the face twice with a paddle. After the inspector “yelled at the driver to stop,” the suspect cursed at him or her.
- On December 19, 2022, an inspector saw a slaughterhouse worker raise his foot and “hit” and/or push a slow-moving pig, prompting the official to “immediately yell for him to stop.”
- On October 26, 2022, an inspector saw a truck driver strike another slow-moving pig with a paddle five to six times and then attempt to push the animal with his knee.
For more details on these incidents, please contact FSIS Office of Field Operations District Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls at 515-858-5076 or [email protected].
This conduct appears to violate Minnesota Statutes § 343.21, which prohibits overdriving and cruelly beating animals. Please note that the FSIS’ reports carry no criminal or civil penalties and don’t preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals. Given that the FSIS hasn’t initiated a criminal prosecution of a licensed slaughterhouse for inhumane handling since at least 2007, charges under state law are these victims’ only chance at a measure of justice.
Thank you for your time and consideration.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis