As the coronavirus pandemic continues to force the closure of meatpacking plants across the country, hog farmers have had to respond quickly to a rapidly growing backlog of animals in their barns by killing and disposing of pigs.
Many large-scale hog farmers have little choice once barns reach full capacity. Officials estimate about 700,000 pigs across the nation can’t be processed each week and will be euthanized if plants don't resume operations.
To help farmers, the USDA has set up a center that can supply the tools needed to euthanize hogs. That includes captive bolt guns and cartridges that can be shot into the heads of larger animals as well as chutes, trailers and personal protective equipment.