BEARDSTOWN – An animal rights group is calling for an investigation into whether animal abuse at a Cass County pork production facility warrants criminal charges.
PETA — short for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — wrote to Cass County State’s Attorney Craig Miller this week calling for action in light of reports from a U.S. Department of Agriculture from April and May while at JBS USA in Beardstown.
The site is a hog production facility that employs over 1,900 people.
On April 6, a USDA investigator said he was in the facility’s cattle barn and saw an employee trying to stop about four hogs from running away.
“As I was watching, a pig started to pass the driver and he pulled his paddle out in front of the pig, but the pig kept walking. The driver then pulled the paddle out and punched the pig in the face about halfway through. eye level,” the investigator said in a Food Safety and Inspection Service report. “I heard the impact of the paddle and the pig screamed and ran faster, continuing past the driver.”
People also read…
Hitting a pig in a sensitive area such as the face with a driving aid does not comply with USDA regulations for humane livestock handling.
The inspector said the employee was ordered to stop and a supervisor was notified.
But the investigator said compliance was “either not implemented or… insufficient to prevent it from happening again”, as a similar incident was observed on May 3.
A pig was standing the wrong way and an employee ‘retracted the paddle and struck the pig on the left side of the face approximately at eye and ear level’, according to a non-compliance report . “The pig screamed and pulled its head and body away from the paddle and ran away from the driver.”
JBS representatives did not return a call Friday morning seeking comment.
PETA said it contacted the state’s attorney after reviewing the USDA reports.
“When someone hits a dog or a cat, people rightly demand that charges be laid, and pigs are also protected by law,” said Dan Paden, vice president of evidence analysis at the organization. “Pigs feel pain and fear just like the dogs and cats that share our homes, and PETA is calling for a criminal investigation into the abuse of these animals.”
Paden said the acts documented “are not normal good animal husbandry practices otherwise exempt from prosecution.”
Miller acknowledged that he had received an email about the incidents, but had not yet received the full report. He declined to say whether his office would investigate until it was able to review all the information.
17 Totally Quirky Illinois High School Sports Icons