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Last Chance for Animals Undercover Footage Reveals Gruesome Illegal Backyard Slaughter at Tampa, Florida Farm

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TAMPA, Fla., Jan. 30, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In an undercover investigation, Last Chance for Animals Special Investigations Unit (LCA SIU) obtained disturbing footage of Tampa, Florida area backyard butchers committing horrifying slaughter, clearly violating the Humane Slaughter Act, Federal Meat Inspection Act, and West's Florida Statutes Annotated covering the Confinement of Animals with Sufficient Food and Water, and the Florida State Humane Slaughter Act.

The investigation took place at the Hernandez Farm, owned and operated by Braulio Hernandez. The footage includes the shooting of two pigs and their subsequent suffering as they are knifed and dragged by a slaughter hook across the floor. One pig endures a dramatic struggle before it bleeds to death, while another kicks and fights as it is being dragged across the blood-stained floor to the butcher table, where it bleeds to death.

LCA's SIU investigation was prompted by the lawsuit filed by the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF) in Florida's 13th District Court in Tampa against Cuesta and Planchart Farms, whose gruesome violations of animal cruelty and nuisance laws were brought to light in a shocking undercover video investigation captured by the Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), a nonprofit investigative organization. Their footage showed horses, cattle, sheep, goats, lamas, donkeys, ponies, pigs, dogs, cats and birds stockpiled on property grounds allowing animal blood to seep into the local ground water tables, violating public health codes, animal slaughter and disposal laws.

In 2011, Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office (HCSO) Agricultural Enforcement Section and Special Investigation Division undertook an "extensive investigation" in response to complaints from ARM regarding the illegal slaughter and sale of horsemeat. On October 24, 2012, HCSO conducted a site visit to the Hernandez farm with no (public) report of either sale of horsemeat or animal cruelty. Two months later, LCA SIU filmed the inhumane treatment of two pigs with at least 40 men, women and children (ranging from approximately four to fourteen years old), waiting in line for "fresh" meat.

One SIU investigator commented, "It was shocking to see a young girl trying to turn away but held forward by her father so that she could watch. No one should have to witness such a horrific death of any animal."

"Florida residents have good reason to be concerned about the illegal atrocities perpetrated by backyard butchers in their communities," says ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. "ALDF's lawsuit and Last Chance for Animals' investigation highlight the need for serious action to protect Florida's animals and communities from shocking cruelty happening behind closed doors."

LCA's CEO and Founder Chris DeRose is holding a press conference on Thursday, 1/31, at 3pm at the Howard Johnson Plaza, downtown Tampa.

About Last Chance for Animals (LCA) LCA, a national animal rights organization, fights for the rights of animals by conducting investigations that expose animal cruelty and launching public awareness campaigns. For more information, visit www.LCAnimal.org.

CONTACT: Karen Maish, Campaigns Director Phone: (310) 271-6096x27 Cell: (424) 298-0302 campaigns@LCAnimal.org

Source: Last Chance for Animals