The Meat Industry Is Using Wood Chippers to Dispose of Dead Pigs

The meat industry is experimenting with a new way to dispose of unwanted slaughtered pigs—by running them through a wood chipper.

A section of land in Nobles County, Minnesota, has been transformed into a composting operation to deal with the surplus of slaughtered pigs coming from a nearby JBS pork processing plant and local farms. “Composting” in this case involves running dead pigs through a wood chipper along with wood and spreading their remains over a field to speed up decomposition. The operation can dispose of up to 2,000 pigs a day.

More than 20 slaughterhouses nationwide have shut down—some of which have reopened—amid hundreds of employee coronavirus cases and many deaths, likely caused by unsafe working conditions.


This, along with restaurant closures and a slowed export market, has led to a surplus of animals. The meat industry is handling this by killing and discarding millions of these animals. In Minnesota alone, at least 10,000 pigs are being killed each day, according to state agriculture commissioner Thom Petersen. JBS—one of the largest meat companies in the world—kills 3,000 of these pigs every day at a plant in Worthington, Minnesota. The company recently stated the plant aimed to kill 13,000 animals daily.

While slaughter plants are killing and discarding many of these animals, others are slaughtered en masse at farms. Approved methods for such killing, outlined by the American Veterinary Medical Association, include slamming piglets headfirst into the ground and covering birds with water-based foam so they suffocate. The number of animals subjected to this cruelty is staggering, with conservative estimates suggesting that two million animals have already been killed in these ways.


Now—even as it conducts wasteful and horrific mass killing of animals—the powerful meat industry is asking the federal government for a bailout. Please join us in telling the USDA that taxpayer dollars and government bailouts should help farmers improve practices, diversify, and transition to sustainable plant-based farming, not support animal abuse and mass slaughter.

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