Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Pig at the Slaughterhouse

I debated doing posts like this because I did not want to sound judgmental.  I myself did not try to think about the animal my bacon once was while I was enjoying a delicious BLT.  It was barely three weeks ago that I was still eating meat.  I did not want to know these things because I did not want to feel guilty.  Let me tell you.  EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW EVERYTHING that goes on with their food before it gets onto their plates.  Today I checked out the book: Slaughterhouse: by Gail A. Eisnitz from the library.  This is what I learned about pigs at the slaughterhouse. 

The following information was reported by former workers at a John Morrell plant in Sioux City SD, which has since closed as of 2010.   This is still a pretty accurate depiction of what goes on in an average plant around the US.

John Morrell is now owned by Smithfield, who also owns,  Armour, Carando, Cook's Ham, Curly's Foods, Eckrich, Farmland, Gwaltney, Healthy Ones, Kretschmar, and Margherita 

The drivers that bring the pigs to the slaughterhouse must deal with the crippled hogs themselves by beating them to death with lead pipes.  A lot of times when pigs come in on trucks they are dead from being exposed to extreme temperatures while being transported.  They can die from heat stroke or freeze to death.  Dead and expected dead pigs are sent to be ground up into feed, fertilizer or other products.  Sometimes in a pile of dead pigs there will be one that is still alive, it is up to the person who grinds them to either kill them first or just stick them in the grinder alive.

Pigs are prodded and corralled, it takes a lot to get them where they need to go because they get anxious when they smell blood. To get pigs to move they sometimes stick the electric prodder in their eye. 

-Pigs are stunned with electricity on their head (or any other part if the stunner doesn't care) to render them unconscious.

-Next shackled and hoisted upside down by one leg

If a pig ends up at the shackler without being unconscious the shackler has to beat it over the head with a lead pipe to try to render it unconscious.  If too many pigs end up in the catch pen alive, the shackler has no choice but to hang them up kicking and squealing and the sticker has to try not to get kicked or bit.

-Next stuck by a 6 inch blade and bled out....

if a pig does not get knocked unconscious they just go straight to the sticker....most of the large sows and hogs are not unconscious when they get stuck.  If the voltage is turned up it would work, but then they risk a "blown loin" which makes the meat look bloodied and bruised, so it's not worth as much money.  A lot of stickers end up being alcoholics from using alcohol to deal with the trauma of killing live pigs every day, and end up having problems with violence and assault.

If a pig gets to the sticker still conscious he would have to try to beat it over the head until it passed out.  If the pig falls off the shackles while conscious the sticker has to tackle it, stick it and run because the pig will run around and try to fight until it bleeds to death.

-Then scalded in boiling water set at 140 degrees to remove hair.

Pigs that are still conscious end up in the boiler kicking and squealing trying to swim and either drown or scald to death.

-Pigs are then Eviscerated (removal of entrails /  disembowelment)

Often times workers are under so much stress and pressure to work fast and get the job done that they abuse the pigs to take out their frustrations.....especially the sticker who is going to have to kill the pig anyways and doesn't care where he sticks the pig and how many times.

When inspectors are coming in to a plant the staff is alerted days in advance so everyone will work according to law/code, so the inspectors rarely find fault in the plants even when there are allegations of violations.

So here....lets put a face to your porkchop.

This information does not even include their treatment before they get to the slaughterhouse.  Imagine how traumatic their life is from the time they are born until they die.

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