Federal regulators are accusing a pork processor who recently moved to the Coldwater area of violating laws regarding humane slaughter.

MLive says that in August and October of last year, the US Department of Agriculture’s federal inspectors observed the violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act at the Clemens Food Group’s Coldwater facility; according to the USDA documents, employees at Clemens in both cases used a handheld bolt gun on a pig in such a way as to cause the animal apparent distress and injury, instead of quickly knocking them unconscious.


In the first case, three employees were seen restraining a hog and attempting to use the captive bolt device to incapacitate it; when the first shot failed, employees ran to get more ammo for the tool while the animal vocalized and attempted to get away. When employees returned, the second attempt to knock the pig unconscious was successful.

The second case saw an inspector observe an employee with a bolt gun in a pen with a pig, which had already been hit once with the device; the animal was unrestrained, and was vocalizing with blood running from its nose. The employee called for a barn supervisor who retrieved a tool to restrain the hog, and once the hog was restrained it took two more shots from the bolt gun to knock the animal out.

The USDA called the first incident in particular a “egregious inhumane handling incident”.

Clemens Food Group was placed under closer federal scrutiny until the end of January following these violations, to determine if they were compliant with humane slaughter rules and taking corrective actions to make sure things like this do not occur again.

Clemens, based in Pennsylvania, came to Coldwater in September 2017, after an effort by the state of Michigan to draw in a pork processing plant. Clemens kills around 10,000 pigs a day, and among other products sells their Hatfield Quality Meats at Meijer stores in Calhoun, Kalamazoo, and St. Joseph Counties.

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