World’S Largest Glatt Kosher Meat Plant Caught In Exposé Of Cruel Slaughter

PETA US Investigation Reveals Atrocities at Iowa Abattoir

For Immediate Release:
1 December 2004

Sean Gifford 020 7357 9229 ext 226

Postville, Iowa — Following a seven-week undercover investigation conducted between 22 July and 12 September 2004, PETA US has released shocking video footage of fully conscious cows writhing in agony as they are mutilated at Postville, Iowa-based AgriProcessors, Inc., the largest glatt kosher abattoir in the world. PETA has filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), calling on the agency to prosecute the plant for violations of the federal Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act (HMLSA).

PETA Europe Limited is also calling on DEFRA to take action to prevent similar cruelty from happening in the UK’s 350 licensed slaughterhouses.

PETA’s video shows workers at AgriProcessors shocking cows in the face with electric prods, ripping their tracheas out of their throats while they are still conscious, then dumping the animals onto a concrete floor, where they stumble and try to get up as blood pours from their throats. Many are still conscious, as evidenced by their cries, when they are hoisted by one leg and moved to another chamber to be decapitated.

Slaughter regulations in the US and UK require that cattle be rendered insensible to pain before they are shackled, hoisted or cut but recognises properly performed kosher slaughter as humane. Kosher law requires that the “trachea and oesophagus of the animal are severed with a special razor-sharp, perfectly smooth blade, causing instantaneous death with no pain to the animal” (The Orthodox Union).

In addition to criminal charges, PETA is asking that the USDA place inspectors on the slaughter line to enforce the HMLSA, which is currently being largely ignored.

PETA first contacted AgriProcessors in 2003. AgriProcessors’ lawyers wrote back that at AgriProcessors, “Kosher slaughter is being conducted in accordance with the letter and spirit of Jewish law, which prescribes the most humane treatment of animals that has been known throughout human history”.

Although AgriProcessors is the world’s largest glatt kosher plant, all kosher abattoirs also produce non-kosher meat because many carcasses do not pass the kosher purity tests and because portions of all animals are not considered suitable for kosher consumption.

“Again and again, when we pull back the curtain on slaughterhouses and factory farms, we find a level of abuse that would make most people lose their lunch”, says PETA Europe Director Dawn Carr. “It appears that if you’re eating meat, you’re supporting cruelty to animals no matter what assurances you have been given by the government, the meat industry or religious authorities.”

Broadcast-quality footage of animals being slaughtered at AgriProcessors is available. For more information and to view the video footage, please visit