Protecting Food. Empowering Whistleblowers.

Whistleblower Profile

Jim Schrier

Jim Schrier is a veteran federal food safety inspector who faced retaliation from the USDA after blowing the whistle on violations of humane handling regulations at a USDA-regulated Tyson Foods slaughter plant in Iowa. FIC represented Schrier in connection with his whistleblower retaliation case.

Serving as a USDA meat inspector for 29 years, Schrier was stationed at a Tyson Foods slaughter facility in Iowa where he reported clear humane handling violations involving market hogs to his supervisor, including:

  • Conscious Animals being Shackled/Slaughtered: Schrier witnessed that pigs being shackled for slaughter were kicking and thrashing violently. This is a direct and gross violation of the USDA’s humane handling regulations that require pigs to be completely unconscious and unable to feel pain prior to shackling.
  • Inadequate Stunning: USDA regulations require market hogs be rendered unconscious prior to shackling and slaughter. Schrier witnessed that many pigs were having to be stunned after being shackled, indicating tha the pigs hadn’t been stunned properly before shackling.

When Jim raised these concerns to his supervisor, the supervisor became very angry, and one week later, he sent Jim to work at another facility 120 miles away. The USDA then decided to reassign him permanently to a plant in another state.

For over 20 years, we’ve worked with meat industry whistleblowers including USDA employees like Schrier, who have witnessed wrongdoing at slaughterhouses and faced serious repercussions for speaking up. FIC Director Amanda Hitt spoke with several of Jim’s colleagues who were fellow inspectors that backed his claims but wished to remain anonymous in fear of the consequences.

Jim’s wife Tammy, who also worked with him as an inspector at the Tyson plant, launched a petition urging the USDA to bring her husband back to his original post near their home. More than 200,000 signatures were collected and sent to the agency.

UPDATE (11/2013): Great news! After negotiations with the USDA, Jim is now working at a slaughterhouse near his home and family.

Media Coverage of Schrier’s Case

7/9/13 Earth Eats – Meat Inspectors Get Blowback for Blowing Whistle