Challenging Backyard Butchers in Florida
Danice Echgelmeier v. Roman Hernandez
The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to shut down four black market backyard slaughter operations outside of Fort Myers, Florida.
Court granted final judgment against remaining defendants
Monitor the slaughter operations and enforce the final judgment
In July 2018, the Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to shut down four black market backyard slaughter operations outside of Fort Myers, Florida. These operations violate state animal cruelty and slaughter laws, and nuisance laws.
Videos of workers at these backyard slaughter operations reveal that animals routinely regain consciousness mid-slaughter. Workers stab squealing pigs repeatedly in the chest and throat, and skin animals, such as goats, while they are still kicking and showing signs of life. Conscious pigs, goats, and other animals are dragged from holding areas to slaughter by their heads and tails, often using large metal hooks.
The Florida Humane Slaughter Act requires animals be unconscious and rendered insensitive to pain prior to slaughter. The law also prohibits people from shackling or hoisting animals with the intent to kill without first rendering the animal insensitive to pain.
Who is being sued, why, and under what law? The defendants are alleged to run four backyard slaughter operations in Fort Myers, Florida. They are being sued under the Florida Humane Slaughter Act, state animal cruelty laws, and state public and private nuisance laws.
What court is the lawsuit filed in? Twentieth Judicial Circuit Court of Florida, in Lee County, Florida.
Why this case is important: These operations jeopardize public health and safety by selling illegally slaughtered animals, including horses, for human consumption, in addition to violating anticruelty laws.
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The USDA violated federal law in finalizing this rule, acting contrary to the mountain of evidence before it demonstrating the rule’s dangers, and flouting humane slaughter and meat inspection laws.September 17, 2019 News
Court rules slaughter operations violate state animal cruelty and slaughter laws.August 26, 2019 Press Release