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8 orgs file suit against USDA swine slaughter speeds

Animal rights organizations take issue with USDA move to remove limit on number of hogs slaughtered per hour.

Compiled by staff

December 23, 2019

2 Min Read

Eight animal rights organizations filed a lawsuit Dec. 18 against USDA's decision to eliminate slaughter speed limits at pork slaughterhouses.

What animal rights organizations filed the suit?

  1. Compassion over Killing

  2. Farm Sanctuary

  3. Animal Equality

  4. Animal Legal Defense Fund

  5. Center for Biological Diversity

  6. Humane Society of the United States                 

  7. Mercy for Animals

  8. North Carolina Farmed Animal Save

Where was the suit filed?

The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of New York.

What is the issue in the suit?

The lawsuit challenges USDA's revocation of limits on the number of pigs that can be slaughtered per hour and USDA's decision to remove and relocate federal inspectors in slaughterhouses.

The lawsuit raises challenges under the Administrative Procedure Act, Federal Meat Inspection Act, Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, and National Environmental Policy Act.

Who are lawyers for the animal rights organizations?

The Animal Law Litigation Clinic at the Lewis & Clark Law School is the lead counsel. The Center for Biological Diversity and Earthrise Law Center at Lewis & Clark Law School are serving as co-counsel in the case.

When did USDA make these changes regarding hog slaughter?

The Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule was finalized on Oct. 1, 2019. USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service amended federal meat inspection regulations to establish an optional new inspection system for hog slaughter. The rules took effect Dec. 2, 2019, and slaughterhouses have until March 30, 2020, to notify FSIS of their intent to operate under the New Swine Slaughter Inspection System or the existing inspection system. It was the first time in five decades the regulations had been modified.

Have any other lawsuits been filed regarding the Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule?

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, together with Public Citizen and UFCW Locals 663, 440 and 2 filed a federal lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Minnesota on Oct. 7 seeking to stop the rule. The unions represent workers in Minnesota, Iowa and Kansas.

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