Southern Quality Meats responds to PETA video

July 13, 2013 6:48:32 PM



PONTOTOC -- The president of a north Mississippi meat processor said a video released by an animal rights group shows two instances in which pigs were not stunned properly before slaughter. 


Southern Quality Meats president Don Haynie said Friday in a news release that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals did not give his company a copy of the video it released to news organizations this week. 


After getting the video from a third party, Haynie said it was shot on the floor of the Pontotoc plant. He said it shows workers using stunning techniques. He said the video showed two incidents where a pig was not knocked unconscious by the first stun. 


"These two instances show a company employee using improper stunning techniques that are contrary to company policy and procedures. We have again retrained our employees on correct procedures. 


"In addition the company has already installed an animal restraining system to help facilitate proper stunning techniques," Haynie said in the news release. 


Haynie said the company was working federal and state agencies that are looking into the video. 


Haynie said the company received a complaint in May from officials of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He said the complaint was investigation but the company found no evidence of problems. 


PETA's release of the video prompted an U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of the slaughterhouse. The USDA has issued no statement on the results of that inspection. 


PETA wants the USDA to take stringent action against the company. It also is asking the Mississippi State Department of Education to suspend its contracts with Southern Quality Meats. 


State Department of Education spokeswoman Patrice Guilfoyle said Thursday the state has a contract with Southern Quality Meats for pork for its school nutrition programs but did not have amounts immediately available. 


"That contract follows all state and federal guidelines," she said.