A Special Investigation
LCA went undercover at Pel-Freez, the largest rabbit slaughterhouse in the United States, and documented horrific abuse. Sign the petition below demanding charges to be filed.
Help Stop Rabbit Cruelty
PETITION TO PROSECUTE PEL-FREEZ FOR CRUELTY TO RABBITS
Dear Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith,
I was shocked to learn that you found nothing wrong with the cruel treatment of rabbits at Pel-Freez Arkansas LLC. Your decision not to charge Pel-Freez, claiming they did not "knowingly" subject these rabbits to animal cruelty, is appalling to me.
Last Chance for Animals (LCA) investigated Pel-Freez, the largest rabbit processing plant in the United States, and found great suffering at their slaughterhouse. You can clearly see the cruelty in the video posted at Rabbitcruelty.com. Pel-Freez workers strike rabbits in the face with the dull edge of a blade, making no attempt to ensure that rabbits are properly stunned. Workers then break the legs of and decapitate conscious rabbits, all under the eye of Pel-Freez management. LCA filmed terrified rabbits screaming loudly as broken bones protruded through their skin and their heads were cut off. When the blade went dull, workers had to use a sawing motion get through the neck. Some rabbits continued to scream until their vocal cords were finally sliced in two.
In light of the evidence that Last Chance for Animals has uncovered, revealing rabbits suffering on a massive scale, I request that you prosecute Pel-Freez for subjecting rabbits at their facility to cruel mistreatment. There is more than enough evidence to conclude that Pel-Freez is aware that breaking the limbs and cutting off the heads of fully conscious rabbits causes unjustifiable pain to these animals. In a commercial facility as large as Pel-Freez, it is simply illogical to conclude that this systemic mistreatment is occurring unknowingly.
As you know, you are responsible for criminal prosecutions of state crimes in Benton County. It is not too late to send a clear message that animal abuse will not be tolerated in Arkansas.
Whole Foods Supermarkets
September 15, 2015 - Whole Foods announced that they will no longer be selling rabbit meat! Special thanks to the Rabbit Advocacy Network, SaveABunny, and House Rabbit Society for their tireless efforts to end rabbit meat at Whole Foods.
Harris Teeter Supermarkets
August 5, 2015 - Harris Teeter's corporate office confirmed with LCA that they will no longer carry Pel-Freez rabbit meat. They have pulled all Pel-Freez products from the shelves, and stated that they “do not intend to do any further business with Pel-Freez."
July 16, 2015 - Following LCA's petition and protest, Gelson's has removed all rabbit meat from store shelves, with no plans to restock it once the current batch is sold off. Thank you to all who spoke out against rabbit cruelty! LCA will continue targeting stores that sell rabbit meat, and let them know it is not OK to endorse rabbit cruelty.
The Findings of LCA’s Undercover Investigation at Pel-Freez Rabbit Slaughterhouse
Before slaughter, a worker known as the "killer" hits the rabbit on the forehead with the dull edge of a knife to try to knock them unconscious. This method is often ineffective, as the video above clearly shows. Many rabbits are struck multiple times, yet never lose consciousness; they remain fully awake throughout the torturous slaughter process.
Hanging and Breaking Bones
After the attempted stunning, the killer hangs the rabbit upside down, breaks one of their hind legs, and hangs them from a shackle. The bone may pierce through the skin. Rabbits who are still conscious scream loudly as their leg is snapped in two – rabbits are naturally silent animals, so these cries indicate severe pain and trauma.
Broken and shackled, the rabbit will finally be killed. To do this, the killer cuts from the back of the neck to the front with his knife, beheading the animal. As the blade grows dull, more cuts are needed, slowing the process and increasing the agony. Workers must sometimes use a sawing motion and vigorous effort. Rabbits who are still awake continue to scream until the knife finally slices through their vocal cords.
Diary of the Investigator
The days started off with a walk through a dark parking lot toward an unimpressive building with a stuffed rabbit sitting in the front window. It was just like any other stuffed rabbit you might see in a children’s toy box. This was the Pel-Freez plant, the largest rabbit slaughterhouse in the United States. I worked as a blood catcher, collecting vials of rabbit blood to be sold for medical research. Standing there, in the kill room, I would see the killer capturing, shackling, breaking legs and cutting off rabbit heads. Depending on which breeder the rabbits came from, you would see different types of injuries or illnesses. I saw dozens of male rabbits with swollen, black, encrusted testicles and hardened, exposed and inflamed genitalia. Some even had an exposed testicle dangling outside of the skin, or what looked like intestine. Others had patches of fur missing and scabbed-over wounds on their backs and sides. Still others had abscesses and eye infections, with their eyes watering or swollen shut and covered in scabs. I never heard anyone mention medical treatment.
There were instances, too many to count, when I would look up on the kill line to see a rabbit, gripped in the hands of the killer, with eyes wide open as he was struck repeatedly over the top of the head or face. It was at these times I clearly understood the ineffectiveness of the stunning techniques used at this plant. The back of the knife left bloody lines across the conscious rabbit’s face and head where she had been struck, from blood still on the knife from previously killed rabbits. Staring into the eyes of the rabbit as they flinched from yet another ineffective blow, and being helpless to end their torture, was crushing for me. This was especially true on occasions when the killer just flipped the rabbit upside down after giving up on stunning, placed their leg in the shackle, breaking it as they did so, then severed their head – all while the rabbit remained fully conscious.
I can still hear their screams ringing in my ear; sometimes I hear them when I close my eyes at night. For the rabbits who weren’t “lucky enough” to lose consciousness during the stunning process, their last moments were ones of complete horror and suffering. Some would let out a short, sad noise as their head was severed from their body. More still would let out an absolutely horrifying scream as their leg was broken in the shackle, pieces of bone protruding from the skin as they hung there crying out in pain. Upon hearing their screams, some of the women workers on my crew would turn quickly to their place at the front of the line in order to catch the suffering rabbits blood and ensure quickness, the only acknowledgement of the horrors these rabbits suffered. When I was down the line sometimes, I’d hear a rabbit emit a cry as they were grabbed from the bin by the killer. They would thrash and scream while he tried to gain a handle on them in order to inflict the blow that would render them stunned. Many simply hung silent in the killer’s grasp. But the worst cases were the prolonged, agonizing screams.
More About Rabbit Slaughter
Rabbits are intelligent, highly sensitive creatures who thrive as companion animals in loving homes. At Pel-Freez, the largest rabbit meat processor in the country, torture is being inflicted on rabbits on a massive scale.
In the first-ever investigation of a U.S. rabbit slaughterhouse, LCA went undercover to expose the extreme brutality inflicted on rabbits at Pel-Freez. Screams of torturous pain are heard from the CONSCIOUS rabbits as slaughterhouse workers routinely break rabbits’ legs, hang them upside down on hooks and cut off their heads.
After completing the investigation, LCA submitted a criminal complaint to the Benton County Prosecutors Office detailing 323 instances where conscious rabbits experienced intentional infliction of major physical trauma, and 193 instances where rabbits were experiencing pain and distress, all overseen by plant managers and many times witnessed by USDA inspectors at Pel-Freez.
Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith decided not to charge Pel-Freez, claiming they did not "knowingly” subject the rabbits to animal cruelty.
The abuse inflicted on rabbits is clearly evident in LCA’s undercover footage; the hell hole known as Pel-Freez needs to be prosecuted and put out of business permanently.
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
#1.) SIGN the petition above.
#2.) SPREAD THE WORD AND EDUCATE OTHERS! - Post messages on your social media urging charges to be filed against Pel-Freez.
#3.) ADOPT A CRUELTY FREE LIFESTYLE - Buy products that are only cruelty free and adopt a vegan diet.
Last Chance for Animals (LCA) is an international, non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating animal exploitation through education, investigations, legislation, and media attention. LCA believes that animals are highly sentient creatures who exist for their own reasons independent of their service to humans; they should not be made to suffer for the latter. LCA opposes the use of animals in food and clothing production, scientific experimentation, and entertainment and promotes a cruelty-free lifestyle and the ascription of rights to non-human beings.
-- Visit www.LCAnimal.org