In a victory for Farm Forward and its allies, on June 28, 2021 the U.S. District Court ruled that Farm Forward and a coalition of animal and environmental protection organizations have standing to sue in two lawsuits against the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), regarding regulations at pig slaughterhouses.
In a suit filed in December 2019, the Animal Law Litigation Clinic challenged USDA’s reducing oversight at pig slaughterhouses and eliminating limits on slaughter speeds, each of which expose pigs to greater suffering. The second lawsuit, filed in February 2020 by Farm Forward and other plaintiffs, sued Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and the USDA for failing to protect pigs who are too sick or injured to walk at slaughterhouses, posing serious risks to animals and food safety.
Every year, well over half a million pigs arrive at U.S. slaughterhouses too sick or injured to stand or walk. These “downed” pigs have a higher risk of carrying a host of human-transmissible pathogens, including Listeria, Campylobacter, Salmonella, swine flu, and Yersinia. Downed pigs are also more likely to face inhumane handling, including excessive electro-shocking, prodding, kicking, shoving, and dragging by workers attempting to force them to move.
These won’t be easy lawsuits to win, but we will continue to fight for a more just food system until no animals suffer on factory farms. We can’t do this work without you.
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