PETA seeks charges for alleged hog abuse at HyLife Foods

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) is asking county prosecutors to file animal abuse charges after federal investigators filed reports of violations at a hog processing plant in Windom.

PETA sent a letter to Cottonwood County Attorney Nicholas Anderson Thursday requesting that he investigate and file applicable criminal charges against HyLife Foods, and the workers responsible for “repeatedly shooting pigs in the head, striking one in the face, and denying others food and water at its slaughterhouse…”

SMN reached out to Anderson, whose office said the prosecutor does not comment on allegations.

USDA reports show inspectors observed numerous violations in 2021.  A report filed on June 20, 2021 says “several waterers in various holding pens” were turned off, leaving some of the hogs without access to water.  “There seems to be an ongoing issue with waters being turned off at the beginning of the week,” reads the report.

On August 5, a federal inspector reported seeing a worker strike a hog twice in the face with a paddle.  The employee was apparently removed from the yard after a supervisor was informed of the incident.

Five days later, on August 10, an employee attempted to stun an unrestrained hog, which “abruptly moved its head to the side.” The report says the hog remained conscious and stepped away from the employee, who reloaded a stunned a second time, rendering the animal “insensible.”  The report says a similar ineffective stun “noncompliance” was also performed at the facility on March 15 with a hog that wasn’t restrained.  “The establishment’s preventative measures were either not properly implemented or were inadequate in preventing recurrence,” the report noted.

On September 20, inspectors reported an employee was attempting to stun an unrestrained hog in an alleyway, but the hog remained conscious, vocalized, stood up, and took several steps away from the worker.  “I observed a bleeding wound above the hog’s eyes,” reads the report, which says the worker then reloaded the device, tested it in the air, then applied a second stun.

On September 29, a USDA report shows that feed was withheld from hogs in two pens for more than 24 hours.

“When someone abuses a dog or cat, people rightfully demand that charges be filed, and pigs are intelligent animals who deserve no lesser consideration,” PETA Vice President of Evidence Analysis Dan Paden said in an email to media.  “PETA calls for a criminal investigation into the egregious abuse and neglect of these pigs, who are protected under Minnesota law like the dogs and cats who share our homes.

In April 2021, PETA urged charges against Butterfield Foods Company after 9,000 chickens froze to death outside of the plant.  The Watonwan County Attorney declined to file charges, citing a lack of evidence.



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