Gelio Hernandez and Angel Busurot, owners of Finca El Novillo, have been indicted by the federal Grand Jury in Miami for having engaged in the “inhumane slaughter of swine” and the “sale of uninspected and adulterated swine meat for human consumption”, in violation of the Human Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA) and the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA).
According to the indictment, the men were charged with knowingly selling pork that had been prepared, packed and held under insanitary conditions. They were also charged with slaughtering pigs without rendering them insensible to pain.
They have made their initial appearances in court and a further hearing has been set for 17 August, with possible prison terms of up to three years on each of the five charges brought against them.
The indictment has been welcomed by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which claimed that US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Noncompliance Records show that pig slaughtering facilities often fail to render pigs unconscious before slaughter, but court action is rarely taken.
Paul Shapiro, vice-president of farm animal protection for the HSUS, said: “We applaud the US Department of Agriculture and the US Attorney’s Office for enforcing the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act and cracking down on these slaughterhouse abuses.
“No animal should be slaughtered while fully conscious, and the pork industry needs to start taking animal welfare a lot more seriously – both in slaughter plants and on factory farms.”