The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), a group that represents pork producers, is asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to maintain faster slaughterhouse speeds despite union concerns of workers' safety.
“NPPC is urging USDA to appeal the ruling, seek a stay while the appeal is considered and request the agency pursue a new, fast-tracked rulemaking that better reflects the modern processing plant technologies and practices and allows for higher line speeds,” NPPC said in a statement Tuesday.
A ruling was made by U.S. District Judge Joan Ericksen that would force pork producers to cut back to slower line speeds as the judge believes workers’ safety wasn’t properly considered with the increased line speeds, The Associated Press reported.
NPPC says many processors are processing up to 1,450 hogs per hour, and the ruling would set back processors to 1,106 hogs per hour on June 29.
“The U.S. pork production system, the most advanced in the world, is characterized by robust competition, innovation and efficiency. With the stroke of a judge’s pen, the lives of many hog farmers will be upended if this misguided ruling takes effect,” said NPPC President Jen Sorenson.
The increased speed at the line was opposed by The United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW), a group representing 33,000 pork slaughterhouse workers.
“UFCW is calling on every company in the pork industry to slow their line speeds so that we can keep our food supply secure and protect the brave men and women who produce the high-quality American-made pork that so many families rely on every day,” UFCW International President Marc Perrone said.
“Only the DOJ’s Office of the Solicitor General decides whether to appeal this decision and, to date, no determination has been made,” a USDA spokesperson told The Hill in a statement.