The business supplies sausage to Mississippi schools and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has notified both the state department of education and SQM of the allegations of inhumane treatment.
In response to the allegations, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service immediately sent investigators to the facility, according to The Associated Press.
SQM denied the allegations, PETA said in a news release, and efforts by the Daily Journal to contact company officials were unsuccessful.
PETA said the video footage shows an SQM employee using electric prongs, normally used to electrically stun pigs prior to slitting their throats, to jab sows and even putting the prongs on an already stunned pig in a cruel and unauthorized manner. Other sows were hoisted up by one foot in order to have their throats slit and their skin cut off.
SQM processes and slaughters up to 160 pigs every day.
Because some of the actions caught on video may violate federal regulations, PETA said it sent a letter to the Mississippi Department of Education – which has done more than $6 million of business with SQM since 2006 – urging the department to reconsider its current contract.
Many Mississippi schools’ meals are supplemented with federal funding under the National School Lunch Program and the national School Breakfast Program.
“Most taxpayers haven’t a clue that their taxes are funding the horrors and intense suffering seen in PETA’s slaughterhouse video,” said PETA Senior Vice President of Cruelty Investigations Daphna Nachminovitch.
In addition to alerting the USDA to the video, PETA reported whistleblower allegations that SQM workers beat downed pigs on the face and head with chains, dragged pigs to the kill floor, and electro-shocked pigs for up to 30 minutes to force them to walk.