Backyard Butchers Turn One Corner of Florida Into Hell for Animals
Animals cut into pieces while still alive. Carcasses and internal organs tossed into the same area where animals live, amidst their own waste and without sufficient food or water.
This is backyard slaughter and butchery.
Far from a wholesome, kinder alternative to agribusiness slaughterhouses or a conscientious and well-meaning contribution to local eating, some backyard butcheries are cruel, revolting and hazardous to people’s health.
Two backyard butchers in Florida are now facing the music. The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) has sued Cuesta Farm and Planchart Farm for breaking a bunch of laws by operating a nightmare abattoir in Hillsborough County, a west-central part of the state that includes Tampa. The lawsuit ALDF filed depicts two killing operations almost surreal in their inhumanity.
ALDF states on its website that on “both farms, animals are routinely dragged, bludgeoned, stabbed, and butchered while still alive.”
The environmental consequences also are not pretty. Unsellable animal “‘byproducts’ are discarded on site, sometimes on protected wetlands, and blood is disposed of by polluting local ground water.”
ALDF is suing on behalf of a number of individual Florida residents, including one veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who dives under his bed every time he hears a gun shot at one of the “farms” and the subsequent screaming.
It seems that the killers are not very good shots. They often begin a slaughter by shooting an animal, but succeed only in wounding it. That doesn’t stop them from proceeding to cut holes in a goat to insert meat hooks and drag the animal to the butchery area, or to gut and butcher a pig alive.
ALDF tells the court that “animals slaughtered at Cuesta Farm and Planchart Farm are routinely shot, stabbed, beaten, or boiled before being butchered alive. These ‘extremely brutal acts’ cause ‘enormous stress, fear and pain’ and ‘unnecessary pain and obvious suffering.’”
The farms are accused of killing wild horses, which is illegal, and then feeding the bones and offal to pigs to hide the evidence.
It turns out that treating animals this way and then serving them to people as food is frowned upon by both the U.S. and Florida governments. ALDF hauled the alleged perps into court under the federal Meat Inspection Act and Florida laws against creating a sanitary nuisance, animal cruelty, confining an animal without enough food and water, not providing exercise and fresh air and abandoning a sick or injured animal, as well as the state’s Humane Slaughter Act and Food Safety Act.
A disturbing undercover video of the practices at Cuesta and Planchart Farms, shot by Richard “Kudo” Couto of Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), is available at ALDF’s website.
Photo credit: Animal Legal Defense Fund