The US Department of Agriculture recently proposed several changes to the process of slaughtering pigs, including allowing slaughterhouses to operate without any limits on the speed of the line. Pigs are already slaughtered on some lines at an astonishing rate of approximately 1,100 per hour. With this new rule, line speeds could reach up to 1,300 or even 1,500 pigs per hour—speeds virtually guaranteed to result in rougher handling and mishaps that increase the suffering of the animals. Perversely, the proposal simultaneously seeks to lower the number of government inspectors at pig slaughter plants.
Such a move not only compromises the welfare of already vulnerable animals, but also endangers workers in slaughterhouses and risks the safety of the nation’s food supply. AWI is pressuring the USDA not to adopt this irresponsible plan.