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USDA suspended Mt. Airy butcher shop 3 times for "egregious" treatment of pigs

Aug 29, 2023Aug 29, 2023

MT. AIRY, Md. — A Mount Airy butcher shop has been hit with three separate suspensions by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in almost as many months for the alleged inhumane slaughter of pigs at their facility.

Wagner Meats was first suspended back on November 8 of last year, after a live 600 pound pig had to be shot five times with a .22 Magnum rifle and then stunned before it finally died.

According to a report issued at the time by the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service, the process took several minutes leaving the animal in severe pain.

Inspectors who witnessed the slaughter considered the incident egregious because "there were multiple attempts to stun the animal with a failure to apply an immediate and effective corrective action."

RELATED: USDA lifts suspension of Mt. Airy butcher accused of livestock mistreatment

Since then Wagner's has faced two more temporary suspensions, one on December 13, 2022 and another on February 21 of this year.

In both instances, the violations were marked as "egregious humane handling noncompliance."

Online records show the incident in December involved a pig who had already been stunned, hoisted, and in the process of bleeding out when it fell out of shackles on to the ground and tried standing back up to get away. This forced Wagner staff to again stun the animal in order to put it down.

The February suspension was issued after a pig remained alive while bleeding out despite having already been stunned, hoisted and shackled. A USDA report says the Wagner staff had to "stick the hog several more times to achieve a successful bleed."

Following each suspension, the USDA temporarily halted all certified inspections at Wagner's until corrective action was taken.

Every time, the suspensions ended up being "Held in Abeyance."

What that means is the USDA evaluated the corrective measures submitted by Wagner's and found them to be acceptable, allowing for the business to resume supervised slaughters.

The agency says it continues to oversee operations at Wagner's when it comes to meat that ends up going to public commerce for human consumption.

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