Operations at a John Morrell plant in Sioux Falls, S.D., were briefly stopped on Sept. 8 after a trucker was seen beating hogs. The kill line was shut down for about six hours after the early morning incident, reports the Argus Leader.

The suspension was triggered when a USDA inspector saw a truck driver beating hogs as he unloaded them from his trailer.

“As the pigs approached the ramp they appeared to balk and they stopped moving, at which point the operator escalated the use of the rattle paddle with all the hits landing on the backs of the hogs,” according to inspection notes quoted in a letter notifying Morrell of the suspension. “He then started swearing and (choked) down on the rattle paddle with both hands so that he could make a complete swing and repeatedly (15 to 20) hit the back of the hog directly in front of him. This was an overhead chopping action with as much force as the operator could muster.”

The driver was not a Morrell employee. The hogs in that load eventually were slaughtered. Other sections of the plant remained open while Morrell officials conferred with federal inspectors. The company released a statement saying it rectified the problem as soon as possible.

Source: Argus Leader