Violations to the USDA’s Humane Methods of Slaughter Act are compiled in a comprehensive report published by the Washington-based Animal Welfare Institute each year. Much of the data for this report is obtained from the USDA’s own records through the Freedom of Information Act. Part of this report documents actual cases in which slaughter laws were violated, sometimes even in the presence of USDA inspectors. This was one such violation case as described in this chilling account of the plant worker at Wells Pork Products in Burgaw, North Carolina of a gunshot stunning attempt gone terribly wrong:
“I heard the rifle (22 mag.) go off twice and I heard the hog squeal each time. As I exited the cooler I heard the rifle go off and the hog squealed again. When I got to the stunning area the hog was down but he was not dead. He was shaking his head continually. [Plant personnel] were in the front office trying to reload the gun. By the time they got back to the stunning area the hog had stood up and was pacing back and forth in agony. The stunner … shot the animal again with the rifle but the shot did not kill him. They returned to the office to get another bullet. By this time the animal is agitated and is trying to get out of the cage. The employees attempted to shoot the animal again outside the knock box area and missed. By this time [plant owner] has arrived and she has a 357 magnum pistol. The animal is shot again with the pistol twice.”1
1HUMANE SLAUGHTER UPDATE: COMPARING STATE AND FEDERAL ENFORCEMENT OF HUMANE SLAUGHTER LAWS, Animal Welfare Institute, September 2010.