Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

New Trump Admin Hog Slaughtering Rule ‘Will Result in the Fox Guarding the Henhouse’

Animals
New Trump Admin Hog Slaughtering Rule ‘Will Result in the Fox Guarding the Henhouse’
A new rule that ends limits for hog slaughtering speeds could increase animal suffering, advocates warn. kickers / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Trump's U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) finalized a new hog slaughtering rule Tuesday that environmental and food safety advocates warn could harm animals, plant workers and public health, Reuters reported.


The new rule will end limits on how fast slaughterhouses can kill pigs. It will also shift responsibility for removing defective meat during the slaughtering process from government inspectors to plant workers. The USDA will still inspect live pigs and the final pork products.

"The implementation of the rule will result in the fox guarding the henhouse," Food & Water Watch Executive Director Wenonah Hauter told Reuters.

The USDA claims the new rule, the first update to the slaughtering inspection process in more than 50 years, is an attempt to modernize inspections.

"This regulatory change allows us to ensure food safety while eliminating outdated rules and allowing for companies to innovate," Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a press release. "The final rule is the culmination of a science-based and data-driven rule making process which builds on the food safety improvements made in 1997, when USDA introduced a system of preventive controls for industry."

A test of the new rule at five processing plants showed that the rate of slaughter did not speed up dramatically, the USDA said. Average slaughtering time under current rules is 977 pigs per hour, while, under the test of the new regulation, it was 1,099 pigs per hour, the Associated Press reported. The pilot program revealed no increase in bacterial contamination, the USDA said.

But Tyson Foods, one of the companies that would be impacted by the rule, had to slow down its own chicken processing speeds this year after it recalled millions of pounds of poultry due to contamination with metal and rubber, Reuters pointed out.

Advocates are also concerned that faster speeds could lead to more suffering for both plant workers and animals. The announcement comes about two weeks after a Human Rights Watch report found that processing speeds at hog, chicken and beef plants were already endangering workers, and that Trump administration deregulations threatened to make the problem worse.

"US meat and poultry workers are put under intense pressure to keep up with production, risking traumatic injury and disabling illness," Matt McConnell, research fellow in the business and human rights division and U.S. Program at Human Rights Watch, said in a press release. "By giving companies the green light to accelerate their production, the US government is putting workers' health on the line."

Animal rights groups are also concerned.

In an email to the Associated Press, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said the new rule "is a total abdication of government responsibility and increases the potential for egregious violations of humane slaughter laws."

Plastic pollution lines a Singapore beach. Vaidehi Shah/ CC BY 2.0

By Tara Lohan

Our plastic pollution problem has reached new heights and new depths.

Scientists have found bits of plastic on the seafloor, thousands of feet below the ocean's surface. Plastic debris has also washed ashore on remote islands; traveled to the top of pristine mountains; and been found inside the bodies of whales, turtles, seabirds and people, too.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A large loggerhead with other injuries washed ashore during the latest cold-stunning event and was treated at New England Aquarium. New England Aquarium

Hundreds of endangered sea turtles were stranded on beaches after suffering "cold stunning" in the waters off Cape Cod, Mass. Local rescuers and wildlife rehabilitators stabilized the turtles at the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and National Marine Life Center and began treatment. Many of the sea turtles were transported by land or air to partner facilities around the Eastern Seaboard for longer-term care to make room for more incoming, cold-stunned animals.

Read More Show Less

Trending

On Dec. 21, Jupiter and Saturn will be so closely aligned that they will appear as a "double planet." NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory / YouTube

The night sky has a special treat in store for stargazers this winter solstice.

Read More Show Less
Rough handling can result in birds becoming injured before slaughter. Courtesy of Mercy for Animals

By Dena Jones

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was sued three times this past summer for shirking its responsibility to protect birds from egregious welfare violations and safeguard workers at slaughterhouses from injuries and the spread of the coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
A view of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge during Arctic Bird Fest on June 25, 2019. Lisa Hupp / USFWS

By Julia Conley

Conservation campaigners on Thursday accused President Donald Trump of taking a "wrecking ball" to the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge as the White House announced plans to move ahead with the sale of drilling leases in the 19 million-acre coastal preserve, despite widespread, bipartisan opposition to oil and gas extraction there.

Read More Show Less