According to officials in St. Lucie County, Florida, US, on 14th February 2024, a farm was raided under the suspicion of slaughtering animals illegally. The sheriff’s office was joined by state and federal agencies to raid St. Lucie Co. farm, in the 200 block of Godwin Road.

Richard Couto, the founder of the  Animal Recovery Mission (ARM), the animal rights organization that denounced the farm after investigating it, said,  “We are grateful to the Sherriff’s Office response for their rapid response in investigating these allegations and welcome the opportunity to collaborate in any way that ensures the welfare of animals in this community is prioritized and crimes against animals are prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” 

In its statement obtained by WPDE, ARM explained the raid was the result of a six-month-long undercover investigation. The organization alleges its sting operation discovered violations of the Humane Slaughter Act, which requires animals to be treated humanely and killed quickly and effectively. Investigators claim that the videos they recorded undercover show goats hoisted upside-down and having their throats slashed before being skinned alive, pigs who were not resisting being held down and stabbed in the heart multiple times, evidence of breeding animals for ritualistic purposes, and of animal fighting and training. They submitted their evidence to the authorities who decided to raid the premises. 

When CBS12 News showed the ARM video to a local butcher shop owner called Anne Hall, she said, “It was really bad. It was saddening, to say the least. There’s definitely a different way that could have been done. It’s almost Neanderthal. This will be a lesson to anybody else out there that is doing this that the animals need to be treated with respect, and there is a process for that.”

ARM stated arrests were made on counts of animal cruelty resulting in death, operating an animal slaughter farm without a license, and other egregious crimes. The dogs, cats, pigs, goats, sheep, cows, birds and other animals found at the farm were set to be taken to a sanctuary to receive care for the rest of their lives.

“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.