Under the program - named 'Modernization of swine slaughter inspection rule' by the US Government, animals can be killed at increasingly fast speeds, and requirements for trained government food inspectors in plants are reduced. At first the program was applied to pigs - now it has been extended to chickens too.
High speed slaughter puts animals at even higher risk of immense suffering, as well as putting the safety of workers in jeopardy, and increasing the likelihood of serious and sometimes fatal diseases spreading.
According to animal protection agency Compassion Over Killing (COK) - which has partnered Rob Zombie for this campaign - the USDA has just begun granting waivers allowing chicken plants to increase already dangerously fast slaughter line speeds to 175 birds per minute.
"Even at current rates of more than two birds each second, suffering is rampant," said a spokesperson for COK. "COK’s investigation of a Mountaire slaughterhouse revealed inhumane shortcuts taken by workers forced to keep up with the fast pace of slaughter plants: live birds slammed into shackles and some even tossed into piles with the dead.
"Pigs, too, are facing high-speed nightmares, as revealed by gut-wrenching footage filmed by a COK investigator inside a Hormel-supplying slaughterhouse operating under the USDA’s high-speed pig slaughter, reduced government inspection pilot program."
Since the high speed slaughter pilot launched, COK has delivered more than 250,000 petition signatures against the scheme to to USDA headquarters.
"The federal agency has also reviewed over 83,500 public comments regarding the high-speed program, many in opposition due to animal and worker safety concerns, and reports that these will be taken into consideration when the final rule is made," said COK.
Now the organization has launched a new advert with Rob Zombie, who says: "Let's keep the screams on-stage and on-screen. USDA: End the high-speed horrors!" The image is now in geo-targeted mobile ads reaching thousands of people around USDA headquarters in Washington, DC.
"While the USDA frames high-speed slaughter as 'modernization' of the meat industry, you'd have to be a zombie to miss that it’s a horrifying step backwards endangering animals, workers, and consumers," said Laura Cascada, Director of Corporate Outreach, Compassion Over Killing. ?