Challenging Backyard Butchers in Florida

The Animal Legal Defense Fund filed a lawsuit to shut down four black market backyard slaughter operations outside of Fort Myers, Florida.

Updated

December 6, 2018

Work Type

Litigation

Status

Active

Next Step

Pursuing default and summary judgement

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.

No federal laws govern the condition in which farmed animals are raised and most state anti-cruelty laws exempt farmed animals.

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