Undercover Along the Food Chain

Photo of a slaughterhouse referenced in Charlie LeDuff's article titled, "At a Slaughterhouse, Some Things Never Die."

Media History

The reporting was intended for these media types: Magazine, Newspaper, Book, Television

"At a Slaughterhouse, Some Things Never Die" - Charlie LeDuff - New York Times

Who Kills, Who Cuts, Who Bosses Can Depend on Race"


It must have been 1 o'clock. That's when the white man usually comes out of his glass office and stands on the scaffolding above the factory floor. He stood with his palms on the rails, his elbows out. He looked like a tower guard up there or a border patrol agent. He stood with his head cocked.One o'clock means it is getting near the end of the workday. Quota has to be met and the workload doubles. The conveyor belt always overflows with meat around 1 o'clock. So the workers double their pace, hacking pork from shoulder bones with a driven single-mindedness. They stare blankly, like mules in wooden blinders, as the butchered slabs pass by.It is called the picnic line: 18 workers lined up on both sides of a belt, carving meat from bone. Up to 16 million shoulders a year come down that line here at the Smithfield Packing Co., the largest pork production plant in the world. That works out to about 32,000 a shift, 63 a minute, one every 17 seconds for each worker for eight and a half hours a day. The first time you stare down at that belt you know your body is going to give in way before the machine ever will.

"Undercover Video of Cows Being Shocked, Shot, Prompts USDA to Shut Calif. Slaughterhouse" - Tracie Cone - Associated Press

Via Washington Post


 "The case is reminiscent of a 2008 undercover operation by the Humane Society of the United States at the Hallmark slaughter plant in Chino, California, that led to the largest-ever recall of beef and the conviction of two people found to have treated the cows cruelly. In that case, video showed downed cows being prodded with a forklift. . ."