For Immediate Release:
September 25, 2023
Nicole Perreira 202-483-7382
Watertown, Wis. – In response to a just-released U.S. Department of Agriculture report that documents a truck driver at the Perry Way Foods slaughterhouse in Watertown beating pigs with a paddle with “excessive force,” PETA fired off a letter today to Jefferson County District Attorney Monica Hall calling on her to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the person responsible.
According to the report, on March 10 an inspector observed the driver attempting to force pigs out of a trailer. As they exited the vehicle, he began striking them with the paddle, raising it “above his shoulders and down onto the back of random sows in rapid succession.” The inspector repeatedly called the driver’s name in an attempt to stop him, but the driver appeared not to hear.
“These terrified pigs were viciously beaten by a worker who made the last moments of their lives even more agonizing,” says PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for an investigation on these animals’ behalf and urges everyone to help end this suffering by going vegan.”
PETA is pursuing charges under state law because federal officials haven’t prosecuted any inspected slaughterhouses for acts of abuse since at least 2007.
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview, and offers a free vegan starter kit on its website. For more information, please visit PETA.org, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on X (formerly Twitter), Facebook, or Instagram.
PETA’s letter to Hall follows.
September 25, 2023
The Honorable Monica Hall
Jefferson County District Attorney
Dear Ms. Hall:
I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individual responsible for beating pigs at Perry Way Foods LLC, located at 1222 Perry Way in Watertown. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in a report that the agency recently made available to the public. (See the attached table.)
According to the report, on March 10 an FSIS agent witnessed a truck driver—who had apparently hauled pigs to the slaughterhouse—“strike multiple sows on their backs with excessive force. Between each strike he would bring the paddle above his shoulders and down onto the back of random sows in rapid succession.” The FSIS agent “began repeatedly calling the trucker’s name to get his attention to tell him to stop,” but the driver “did not appear to hear” the official.
This conduct appears to violate Wis. Stat. § 951.02. Please note that FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not 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.
Vice President of Evidence Analysis
Cruelty Investigations Department