Yelm area meat processor cited for inhumane treatment of animals
By Andrew Kollar [email protected]
Three quotes from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) led the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to request a criminal investigation into Puget Sound Processing, a mobile meat processor owned by the Pierce Conservation District.
The mobile processing unit has been cited for violating the federal meat inspection law, which aims to prevent the inhumane slaughter of livestock.
The first quote was issued by the USDA on April 6, when the Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) observed that a pig was shot three times. They attempted to knock out a 225-pound pig with a .223 bolt-action rifle. The gunshot grazed the pig between the ear and right eye, causing it to “vocalize” and jump. The second attempt completely missed the hog and the shrapnel hit two employees. The employees were successful on the third attempt, but it took six to 10 seconds from the first stroke to when the pig passed out.
“Firearms shall be used to fire a bullet or projectile at the animal in accordance with this section so as to cause immediate loss of consciousness in the animal with a single shot before it is chained, hoisted , thrown, thrown or cut, âFSIS said in the quote. âThe animal should be slaughtered in such a way that it loses consciousness with a minimum of excitement and discomfort. “
To avoid a similar incident in the future, FSIS requested a written response:
âEvaluate and identify the nature and cause of this incident, explain the specific reason why the event occurred, describe the immediate specific actions taken to eliminate the cause of the incident, describe the specific planned actions you will take to avoid future recurrences and provide associated records that include monitoring and verification activities that Puget Sound Processing will use to ensure that planned changes are actually implemented.
The second quote was released on October 5 when FSIS saw a pig being shot three times. Three market pigs were loaded into a punch box where an employee decided to shoot the three pigs with a .22 magnum rifle, with a .223 rifle as a backup. The first two pigs got off easily, but the third did not. The third pig was hit in the eye, shattering its eyeball and causing the pig to struggle. The employee regained his position and delivered a second and final stun after 4-5 shrill calls and 40-60 seconds between first and last shot.
FSIS called the incident a blatant inhuman non-compliance and issued a notice of suspension until Puget Sound Processors completed a second questionnaire to ensure a similar incident did not occur.
A third citation was issued on October 30 when a cow was slaughtered five times. The cow was loaded into the punch box and knocked out with a Winchester 30-30 rifle, but the cow’s head did not fall. The second shot was fired within two seconds with the same rifle, but the animal’s head still didn’t and a third shot was fired with the same result. A fourth shot was fired but the cow was still blinking. The fifth shot was fired with a .223 rifle within 10 seconds of the first shot.
FSIS observed the punch holes in a group of 3-4 below the strike zone. The fifth shot was about 1.5 inches above the previous four.
Puget Sound Processors had to provide written notice to continue operations. The suspension was lifted in November.
Puget Sound Processing did not release a statement to the Nisqually Valley News before this week’s deadline, but released a statement to the Olympian last week. A representative from Puget Sound Processing said in the statement that the company has reassessed its procedures, added training and upgraded its equipment.
Mobile slaughter units became popular after USDA approved the first mobile unit in 2002 to help Island Grown Farmers Co-op for the community of Lopez Island, located in the San Juan Islands. Mobile processors are designed to help ranchers improve their incomes by reducing transportation costs.