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Former Agriprocessors Kosher Meat King Sentenced to 27 Years

Written by PETA | June 21, 2010

Last fall, a jury found Sholom Rubashkin, former Agriprocessors CEO, guilty on 86 federal financial fraud charges. Now, a judge in the case has announced that Rubashkin will be sentenced to 27 years in prison and ordered to pay nearly $31 million in restitution!

This is the culmination of a long, sordid history of financial crimes at the plant as well as violations against humans and animals dating back to PETA’s original undercover investigation in 2004.

This undercover investigation exposed that Agriprocessors was hacking out the tracheas and esophagi of cattle immediately after the kosher slaughter cut, when the animals were still conscious and able to feel pain. Many animals remained conscious for prolonged periods, some even struggling to their feet in agony three minutes after their throats were cut, their organs dangling from their necks.

Dr. Temple Grandin, the world’s leading slaughterhouse expert, called this “the most disgusting thing [she’d] ever seen.” The USDA agreed with PETA and cited Agriprocessors for “engaging in acts of inhumane slaughter.” Sholom Rubashkin tried to defend these egregious methods, but PETA undercover investigations in both 2007 and 2008 caught his facilities again performing dressing procedures on conscious animals. Dr. Grandin said, “The undercover video clearly showed that when they think nobody is looking, they do bad things in this plant.”

At least Sholom Rubashkin will not have the opportunity to harm any more animals for the next 27 years.

Written by Shawna Flavell

Commenting is closed.
  • Concerned says:

    According to Bloomberg Businessweek “Agriprocessors, Inc. changed its name to Agri Star Meat & Poultry, LLC in September 2009. Agriprocessors filed for bankruptcy after the biggest ICE raid in US history, the CEO was arrested, and the bank recalled their loan. It now has a new name and a new CEO–probably an old friend of the now incarcerated former CEO. Interestingly, Agribusiness owed money; Agri Star, on the other hand, got a loan to expand the business, plus tax exemptions to hire more (undocumented?) workers. And they are expanding — they are now installing ovens. Agri Stars provides “kosher and non-kosher” beef, veal, lamb, turkey, and chicken products– although I’m not exactly sure what that means for the animals slaughtered there. Also, no animal abuse charges were filed; it’s as if it never happened…or it wasn’t important. So, unfortunately, I don’t think anything has changed. It’s probably business as usual back at the slaughterhouse.

  • bob fitzroy says:

    Animals should be RESPECTED! not neglected.

  • Sara says:

    That makes me so sick to my stomach I’m so glad his a is in jail. Thank you peta!!

  • LINA BIBIANA says:

    Gracias Muchas gracias Peta heno Que Seguir condenando la Injusticia prr Seres Con Ests

  • Patty Hicks says:

    It’s about time! I couldn’t be happier. I changed forever after watching those videos. I was horrified and so broken hearted. I sent out letter after letter concerning this issue. All I ever got back was letters of denial and broken promises. Make no mistake……..these are not people of God but quite the opposite. They are pure evil.

  • Karin Wallace says:

    I am so happy to read that this evil demon has got what was so over due to him. I actually cannot watch the videos i find them beyond upsetting and simply cannot believe the things i read it makes me feel so upset and helpless..thank god there is one less devil out there.

  • Vikki says:

    Great news I only saw the horrible things that happened there a couple of weeks ago and was sick to my stomach. Well done Peta and I hope to God that more assholes like that can be put behind bars but not for fraud but for the even bigger and more important crime of torturing animals. Keep up the good work x

  • Freya Kapitan says:


  • Nix says:

    All I can say is SUCK IT DUDE! Those poor animals. I’m glad he won’t be hurting them now.

  • Jenn says:

    He may have been sentanced to 27 years but there is a chance of parole and they will almost certainly barter down the sentance. So for those of you who say the punishment is too harsh I say The people he lied too and the laws he broke not to mention the countless animals without a voice…maybe you should have been there to see it.

  • Marlyn says:

    Wow that’s heartbreaking I wonder what the hell was going through their minds when they were doing that.. Makes me sick

  • Marilyn Glasgow says:

    As a member of PETA I am proud of the work you do and so glad to see this person go to jail.. Howeverhe didn’t go to jail for animal cruelty. He went to jail for fraud. Just as Vick didn’t go to jail for cruelty but for his financial involvement in dogfighting. Judges 99 of the time don’t consider animal cruelty worth their bother as if it is beneath them. Because of their attitude the cruelty will never end.

  • Vera Aragao says:

    Jail for him is not too much… But thank you Peta for defend the animals. Its a great victory. Vera Aragao Brasil.

  • Jacob Dijkstra, M.D. says:

    I have great respect for the people who go undercover to document these atrocities. Howeverthe 27 years in prison was for federal financial fraud and no mention is made of the cruelty to animals that even the USDA!considered inhumane. In our society economics are obviously still much more important than ethics and morality.

  • Jena says:

    I hope he rots in prison which is too good for him. An eye for an eye is my motto.

  • Luna says:

    So sad that so many had to suffer so badly. Great to see some real justice handed out Well done


    I’m happy to know that this criminal is going to pay some time in jail well the life the suffering the torture caused to the poor creatures doesn’t have a priceand nothing could be enought to pay all the cruelty with unarmed creatures.How him and other people that believe in Godcan live without any feeling of compassion at least this man will pay in jail but i wish that wasn’t necesary is a really cruel and indesirable place to livewhat the men do to the world.

  • mARYAM DICKEY says:

    Viva Peta!!! I am proud to be part of your organization. Please don’t stop. We get busy and forget but having you on my email reminds me of me needing to be humane. Thank you.

  • Susan Oppikofer says:

    There is one thing that is sure All these people who do harm at animals will be terribly punished! No mercy!

  • angela tolley says:

    what’s so sadI am sure of the 27 years..26 12 of them are based on financial fraud. sucker the government you will payabuse an animal..oh well

  • Valerie says:

    I am soooooo…pleased to hear the arrest conviction and 27 year sentence of the animal abuser. They should all face the same charges. I LOVE PETA!!!!!

  • Sophia says:

    I saw the documentary Earthlings and the most shocking thing I discovered was how cruel and disgusting kosher slaughterhouses were compared to your average one. Thank you so much PETA for putting this man in jail From a happy vegan

  • Jane Way says:

    Brilliant work PETA I am proud to be a member

  • sam smith says:

    i have to say i am very disturbed by the comments on this blog. mr rubashkin was the CEO of a very large company. he did not personally kill any animals and so obviously was not cruel to them either. he quite simple owned a business. if people have an issue with the kosher method of slaughtering then let them take the bible and its commentaries to task. to wish someone all the “lovely” wishes that the readers of this website wished mr rubashkin is quite hypocritical. don’t like what he’s doing is one thing. to wish him hell is another. maybe read up a little about mr rubashkins good deeds the number of homeless ppl he helped the orpan homes he supported the money he sent to help poor immigrant families survive. it might just give you a little different view of things.

  • Thomas Van Wyck says:

    Is there any compassionate way to slaughter? Don’t think so. It’s all beastly and ghastly kosher included!

  • Nancy Wokich Abdallah says:

    I hope this sends a very loud and clear message to the rest of the industry! Lets keep fighting for the animals!

  • Karien Lausberg says:

    I believe in your efforts Peta! I’m happy I’m donating! Keep up the good work and I hope that all animal abusers will feel the way that abused animals have felt! All animals abusers should be in hell…. on earth! I’m so glad I’m a vegeterian! I hope you’re in hell wright now and forever Sholom Rubashkin!

  • Angelia Lindo says:

    To Sandy. Hate to burst your bubble but there is no such thing as a seafood fish vegetarian. Vegetarian means eating NO fleshmeat from any animal that includes FISH seafood crabs snails oysters shrimps lobsters etc. etc. etc. more etcs. Everyones’ health will be in the positive if the cooked or raw corspe of animals are left off the menu. Think of all the toxins that were build up in these animals the time of slaughter because of the torture abuse fear pain. Also remember that many of these animals are sick are still being slaughtered. Some of them can’t even walk because of illness are actually dragged by ropes to be slaughtered all for what? Just to get the corspe to market for a buck. just to make a buck don’t forget all of the steriods harmones other chemicals given to these animals. A meat eater ingest all of those things. Is it worth it???? No one is saying that a Vegetarian can’twon’t have health problems but studies have proven that the risks for acquiring many health problems are drastically decreased with a Vegetarian diet. There are so so so so many meat alternatives that are far more healthier so much more delicious. Also we must with all our might try to stop other cruelties such as the skinning of live defenseless animals that is such a inhumane act. I just can’t comprehend doing this to a living breathing animal people compensating these heartless monsters by buying things which are made from the skins that came from the pain torturing eventually death of these animals. Whenever you eat meat or wear anything made from animal skins just remember know that you ingest wear many many cries sufferrings from those poor defenseless animals.

  • Camilo Salgado says:

    Congratulation PETA!!… since Colombia south amrica. Keep working and God bless you!

  • mae says:

    I hope he feels every second in his cell…. this man is an evil monster. BRAVO!! PETA! your my hero’s every single member!!

  • sean says:

    i jus wanna cry hate this world we live in. hate the fact that u can torture animals n practicly get away with it. thankyou 2 peta we need you….n thankyou 2 pamela anderson….

  • Saucy says:

    John Christopher Martinez It was lovely to read your heartfelt confession and feelings about animal cruelty. Compassion love and mercy are qualities from God. It is wonderful that you are choosing God over satan. Meat and dairy products do have addictive qualities and most people have to wean themselves off of them. It is a growth process. So make a plan. That’s what I did. First I stopped eating pork altogether after reading an article in the NY Times Sunday Magazine about pig gestation crates. I have never taken a bite of pork since then. That was ten years ago. At the same time I went “free range” and organic dairy and eggs until I could wean myself off of those. It was like stopping smoking having those chemicals leave my body. I would allow myself two chicken breasts a month and a piece of beef every three months as I began to explore alternate protein sources. There are so many great choices out there. Get creative. Pray. What you can’t find at your local grocer you can order on line. Stay informed. Look at these pages everyday. Watch the videos. Glad to have you with us.

  • Fernando says:

    the rabbinate is also responsable! they are in charge to give the warranty the jewish people are not responsable is the corruption inside the rabbinate if involved! they give the certification to be real kosher and not fake kosher. Just going to the roots. Real kosher is prohibited to make suffer the animals.

  • Ami Vong says:

    GOOD NEWS Punishment is deserved to those cruel acting people!!

  • raph says:

    I’m a Orthodox Jew. I’m also vegan and at law school. I think you’re missing the point. The guy went to jail for bank fraud. If it were purely animal cruelty charges he wouldn’t be serving time at all. Sad but true. What’s needed is a revolution in animal rights law.

  • Danielle says:

    As hard as it is to see the horrible evil things that happen to this precious living creaturesit makes me happy when I know that what PETA and its activists are doing IS MAKING A DIFFERENCE!! God is on our side…and it’s our duty to protect these creatures. He’s paying for his actions and I look forward to seeing many more positive outcomes.

  • Susan says:

    I was very bothered by what I have read in a lot of these comments. True what this person and his group might of been wrong and deserving a jail sentence but what about all the others. The slaughter of all meats cows pigs chicken turkeys etc are done in very cruel and barbaric methods. Is Peta going to take the rest to court and have them all put in jail? Being “kosher” has nothing to do with being a vegetarian or not it is what this animals eat are raise and killed that make them deemed kosher or not. In my way of thinking I think everyone should not eat any kind of meat and we should all Christian Moslem Jewish and all faiths should become vegetarians so that NO animal would suffer any mistreatment. Come to think about this we should also stop eating eggs and drinking milk as these animals do not suffer death but cruelty in how they are kept their living areas.

  • Rekha Kulkarni says:

    Although his conviction and sentence were given for “financial fraud” as opposed to abusing animal rights nevertheless his karma has come roundabout to attack him back in a different manner. Alas those animal’s lives he and all his followers at that company took away can not be replaced. However I am still worried and concerned that those animals initially destined for Agriprocessors since the closure of the plant will now end up at a different slaughterhouse. So it makes no difference to those poor creatures. Just pray God that everyone in this universe becomes a vegetarian and allow these wonderful creations of God to exist peacefully.

  • Nina says:

    Finally an example is shown involving an abuser of animals. Too often abusers are let off too easily. Animals are sentient beings who feel who have families and humans must wake up to those facts. We must strengthen all laws to improve protections of our animals.

  • Mario says:

    What a relief! This is a very good step in the right direction. Many thanks to PETA whose superbe effort of concertation turn all of us into one stong voice. Closet time is over for vegetarian.

  • Terrance Swanson says:

    I have been told for years that kosher slaughter was more humane than other methods. Wouldn’t that really mean that people that have been purchasing this meat have actually been buying treif? Shouldn’t they be told the facts?

  • hennbea says:


  • milton Abramson says:

    I was very pleased to see the verdict handed to the postville butcher. Kosher is not enough if it involves killing animals

  • nicole says:

    i AM so happy that at least one person is not doing this anymore. Although I am horribly saddened by the fact that so many more are. Why? Fast food everyone needs to watch Food Inc. and learn where our food comes from and the sufferring involved. Animals and people. Truly sad

  • Dave Bernazani says:

    Justice is sweet. But even 27 years in prison is nowhere near equal punishment for the horrors and evil he committed. May he have nightmares of each death every night for the rest of his sad sorry excuse for a life. Good job PETA.

  • Judith singer says:

    It’s not enough. But maybe he’ll run into some animal lovers in prison!

  • Tucker says:

    YESYESYES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BIG TIME JAIL TIME AND BIG BUCKS LET ME SAY HE DESERVES EVERY BIT OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!