Covert video captures inhumane pig slaughter in Minnesota

The video uploaded on YouTube was secretly filmed at one of the largest pork producers in the US

ABC 6 News talked with Nate Jensen, Vice President of Human Resources and Quality Services at QPP.

An animal welfare group has released an undercover video that it says shows cruel treatment of pigs at a Minnesota slaughterhouse that supplies Hormel Foods Corp. This, they say, allows for companies to speed up the process, hide violations, and, ultimately, compromise the food supply.

The video was shot earlier this year by the animal rights group Compassion Over Killing.

U.S. Departments of Agriculture spokesman Adam Tarr says the actions depicted in the video are "completely unacceptable".

Tarr said federal inspectors were on duty at the plant, but the video was likely taken out of their view. "Had these actions been observed by the inspectors, they would have resulted in immediate regulatory action against the plant", Tarr added.

Animals are supposed to be stunned and rendered unconscious before being killed.

The video also appears to show pigs with pus-filled abscesses being sent down the line.

Another worker in the video was given a written warning and retraining after aggressively paddling a pig to get the animal into line, Jansen said.

Quality Pork Processors said it has already disciplined two employees shown on the video and will take further actions if necessary.

Compassion Over Killing's Meier rejected the criticism that video editing distorted the YouTube version. "We documented excessive beating, shocking, improper stunning, and dragging of animals". However, he says it is an edited, 3-minute version of a much longer video, in which everything else shows employees following proper procedures.

The USDA disputed the pro-vegetarian group's claim that the faster inspection system was to blame.

The idea is to allow USDA inspectors to focus more on food safety and other consumer protections, according to the Food Safety and Information Service.

"I don't think you can look at the video along with the USDA guidelines and say that QPP is following the law", said Ted Genoways, who is the author of The Chain: Farm, Factory, and the Fate of Our Food, and has seen the video but is not associated with the group.

Hormel, one of the nation's most prominent pork producers, declined to make an executive available for an interview.

"That means this facility operates at faster line speeds than nearly any other facility in the US", Compassion Over Killing said in a statement describing the video.

An investigator for Compassion Over Killing, a Washington animal-rights group, secretly recorded footage during the five months he worked at a Quality Pork Processors Inc. plant in Austin, Minn., where Hormel is based, the group said.