Skip to Main Content

They Die Piece by Piece

Written by PETA | November 23, 2010
GollyGforce/CC by 2.0

It’s been more than 20 years since I read about the “downed cow” in a PETA newsletter and became a vegetarian on the spot. Now, out of Texas comes another veggie-maker of a story.

A whistleblower at the JBS Swift slaughterhouse in Cactus, Texas, told PETA that he went to investigate after the slaughter line was stopped, and he was horrified to discover the cause: After having been hoisted by one of her hind legs and having three of her hooves hacked off, a conscious cow was thrashing and struggling so violently that workers were unable to continue to butcher her. A supervisor finally killed the cow by shooting her twice in the head with a handgun—a full 20 minutes after she should have been rendered unconscious with a captive-bolt gun.

PETA immediately filed a complaint with the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which responded by investigating the plant and initiating a “humane handling–related enforcement action.” Since then, the FSIS veterinarian at the plant has reportedly almost doubled the amount of time spent supervising the “stun and stick areas.”

Tragically, this is not an isolated incident. Because slaughter lines move so quickly and many workers are poorly trained, stunning with a captive-bolt gun (which fires a bolt into the animal’s brain) often fails to render animals unconscious. In fact, slaughter expert Temple Grandin advises slaughterhouses to strive for a failure rate of 5 percent (which adds up to millions of conscious cows who are slaughtered every year). One slaughterhouse worker told The Washington Post that he frequently has to cut the legs off completely conscious cows. “They blink. They make noises,” he said. “They die piece by piece.”

Feeling sick to your stomach yet? Take one vegetarian/vegan starter kit and call me in the morning.

Written by Alisa Mullins

Commenting is closed.
  • Iouise,MOLLOT says:


  • mickeylinda123 says:

    I think if we stop buying meat all of us who are trying to stop this cruelty I think we should make a strike I have no idea when but we should and make some people stop and think what we are all causing make them stop buying meat because if we keep buying for any reason to free/eat/save we’re only making those people get more of those creatures and kill more we need to stop them. I hope that you take the time to read this I want to stand up for them I want to help them I can’t do it alone I need YOUR HELP

    Hi! You can get more information from the following links:

    Thanks for your continued interest in helping animals!


  • karly says:

    Hey all It is very difficlt to watch how such torture can go on.It is so easy for people to ignore the pain and suffering of these animals.Im glad that there is videos like this so that they can see the horror and know they are what causes it. If you enjoy your meat fine but best you start taking some responsibility for the torture of these animals oh you may not be there in that slaughter house but you are just as much to blame if you accepting this treatment of the animals.Dont say you love animals but yet you eat meat! I dont see you fighting this torture.To all vegans and vegetarians out there you are the people who have compassion and the real will to stop this abuse. You are the strong ones…

  • MA Moo says:

    “For every hair harmed on a sacred cow, the person responsible shall die 10,000 firey deaths”…Lord Krishna

  • JULI says:


  • Jay says:

    Most humans eat meat. Simple as that. It taste good, it has protien(sp sorry) and in the case of hunting it keeps the population down. Although I am not for abusing the animals. I am all for free range meat.

  • Carla* says:

    Krissy, all RAT KING was trying to point out is that this is NOT normal behavior. Or course it’s not the same when an animal kills another animal because they’re carnivorous animals and need meat to survive. We are NOT, we’re omnivores!! Nature is nature. This is simply barbaric and man-made!! Go veg it’s the only way!! Btw is this place shut down yet, I’ve heard it has?

  • Carla* says:

    Tony, not sure how old you are but you really need to educate yourself before you make un-educated comments like the one you just posted. Sorry but I don’t hear the cow laughing. Every living, breathing being feels pain and these kinds of atrocities against these beings need to stop!! Now!! Go veg it’s the only way!!

  • Carla* says:

    Mr. Rob, No you go do something about child labour and we’ll stick to animal rights! Lots of sites out there for helping people…

  • keith says:

    I wonder if things have changed towards the horrific slaughter of sentient creatures now the company is called Agri Star Poutry & Meat..bought by Canadians, and we all know the track record of this lot.. horse slaughter and seals ” don’t we ” still kosher bloody awful..

  • Conny says:

    we need more vegetarian and vegans, eating meat is bad for all, the animals, the earth and fot the people who eat animals, eating animals is very bad for the health and the body.

  • tapan patnaik says:

    I left eating meat in 2000. But was eating fish occasionally. Thanks to PETA, I saw a few video clips and now I have stopped eating fish too. Honestly I never believed such atrocities are done on animals in so called civilised and developed world where animals are being tortured just just for profit! In India there were very few meat eaters now with so called development and with arrival of Mc Donald and KFC and few more multinationals it has become fashionable to eat meat.

  • Rochelle Mariee' says:

    I’m 15 years old and i found out about Peta on a trip in DC last year and because of peta and its information on the way that animals are treated i have incouraged my family to not eat anything associated with beef. We already have given up pork and beef altogether. Going Vegan will be more of a challenge however i’m up for it. I believ that the wy animals are traeted is wrong. Have we stooped so low that killing animals is something that we feel pride in? If i kill a cat or dog i’m wrong, but if you kill a pig or a cow your a saint because your feeding the pockets of millions. That’s not right and i’m defiantly against it! STOP KILLING ANIMALS!!!!!!!!!