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Food Integrity Campaign Blog

Statement on Undercover Video Exposing Animal Abuse at a Hormel Pork Plant in Oklahoma

Food Integrity Campaign | February 1, 2017

Video Exposes Habitual Animal Abuse by One of Nation’s Leading Pork Processors, Reinforces Enduring Value of Whistleblowers


WASHINGTON – Today, Hormel Foods Corp. announced it is launching an investigation into rampant animal abuse at one of its pork plants in Oklahoma after an undercover video, made public by the animal rights group Mercy for Animals, showed pigs being confined inhumanely and hit by gas cans, among other things.

Inadequate regulation within the food industry has reinforced the crucial and outsized importance of whistleblowers – truth-tellers on the front lines who work within the system – to effect change so abuses such as these do not recur. Food Integrity Campaign (FIC) Director Amanda Hitt stated:

“As someone who has been monitoring Hormel for years, this video comes as no surprise. My organization has been helping Hormel workers tell the truth about the problems throughout Hormel’s supply chain. From life on the farm, to processing, packaging and labeling, Hormel is a mess, and is a prime example that America needs more food regulation, not less.”

The newest revelation of animal abuse is not an isolated incident. As early as 2015, Hormel came under public scrutiny after a similar video surfaced of pigs being unnecessarily beaten, and their throats slit without employees following proper protocols, at a pork plant in Minnesota.

FIC, a program of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), has been instrumental in raising awareness about such abuse through the vigorous defense of brave whistleblowers within the food system. As just one example, FIC staff previously obtained and publicized four affidavits from former USDA hog inspectors working at high-speed “HIMP” plants, three of which are operated by Hormel. The affidavits documented not only animal abuse, but negligence in proper inspection, posing grave concerns for public health issues.

Contact: Luke Drabyn, GAP Communications Associate
Phone: 202.457.0034, ext. 130

Government Accountability Project

The Government Accountability Project is the nation’s leading whistleblower protection organization. Through litigating whistleblower cases, publicizing concerns and developing legal reforms, GAP’s mission is to protect the public interest by promoting government and corporate accountability. Founded in 1977, GAP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy organization based in Washington, D.C.