Letters to the Editor: Good riddance to the Farmer John slaughterhouse. Now, let’s eat less meat

Workers outside the Smithfield Foods-owned Farmer John meatpacking plant in Vernon in 2020.
(Gary Coronado / Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: It is interesting that the Farmer John slaughterhouse in Vernon, southeast of downtown Los Angeles, is considered an iconic building in Southern California. Despite the foul odors emanating from within, it will be missed by some. (“End of the line for Farmer John, a smelly L.A. landmark of Dodger Dogs, tourists, protests,” June 11)

I wonder if it would be missed as much without the mural of all the cheerful pigs, which could not be a more inaccurate representation of the building’s purpose.

As silly as the mural is, it serves an important function. It distances us from the reality of what happens in a slaughterhouse, and from the uncomfortable thoughts that we repress when we eat animal products.


A more humane way to deal with these unpleasant thoughts is to eat less meat. Yes, we need lighthearted animal murals, but they should represent our compassion toward animals, not serve as a mask covering what we cannot face.

Kristen Kessler, Ventura


To the editor: The issue is the 1,800 to 2,000 workers who may soon lose their jobs after owner Smithfield Foods shuts down its Farmer John meatpacking plant.

We have another prominent business set to leave the state, and our government officials remain quiet. Is it any wonder that Californians are migrating to other states? The high cost of doing business in California has also prompted the departures of Nestle USA, Oracle and others.

The good weather alone is not enough when you can’t find a job.

Don Evans, Canoga Park


To the editor: Many of us Angelenos have fond memories of the Farmer John murals. They paint a pleasant, bucolic picture of animals grazing happily.


Having worked inside for a short while, I have a different feeling. I have seen the frightened animals come down the chute to be killed, divided into pieces and packaged, all in a very bloody and sloppy manner. I have backed up into a shelf with pig heads staring at me. I have seen the inspector stamp the meat as approved without even inspecting them.

After my short period there there, I was a vegetarian for two years. What goes on inside is a very different picture from what the beautiful murals outside portray.

Milton B. Rouse, Dana Point