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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

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  • s sureck says:

    The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated Mahatma Gandhi quotes Indian Philosopher internationally esteemed for his doctrine of nonviolent

  • CheridaHivale says:

    this is a great step for animal rights and justice. Monsters like this deserve more than just prison I’m sure tho’ they will get it in time. I hope this sets a precedent and more convictions lIKE THIS HAPPEN.

  • Jeannette Turner says:

    Thank God for that I am really happy to hear that cruel practice has ended. I lived in Israel for some years and of course i never heard the truth about these procedures. Well done Peta. We must all do all we can to stop animal cruelty.

  • Merilyn says:

    I get so tired of meat eaters trying to make me out as some idiot because I choose to be vegetarian! Well this article is exactly why I am proud to be meatfree! And to think I somehow felt a bit better about ‘kosher’!!! Sick bastards!! Rot in your cell after you are Big Roy’s new ‘girl’ Rubashkin!!!!

  • M says:

    This is amazing D How human beings treat animals is a direct reflection of their deepest inner being. This person is pure evil and there jail sentence is SO deserved. I hope that he does not get out early and for the next 27 years sits in his cell and learns from his surroundings that animal abusers are losers.

  • Uroosa says:

    PETA your lovely! Thank so much for helping our fellow animals! And for you the cruelty dude go rot in jail thats what you get for doing to animals. Now you’ll see how animals feel being locked up! PETA is like awesome!

  • John Christopher Martinez says:

    All I can say is that may God have mercy on us all for the way any of us have ever treated His creatures. I even dislike killing insects. No one has the power over life and death. May God forgive me for being a meateater. Trying desperately to go vegetarian but need help and support. Please remember me in your prayers as well as all of the innocent creatures killed needlesslycruelly and without remorse since this atrocity began.

  • Cici says:

    When I used to eat anything for me it was a process to veggies I thought eating Kosher meat meant that I was doing something good for the animals. Now I know I wasn’t and am very greatful that I’m away from that whole meat thing and will now tell this information to “my meateatting friends” to enlighten them as I wish someone had done for me back then.

  • Julie Collins says:

    Thank God there are people out there to stop these disgusting people WELL DONE!!! Just sickening…

  • Debra says:

    Its to bad that it ever happened but THANK YOU PETA!!! Now he should face the same tourture he exposed every animal to!! If he passes out from the pain wake his ass back up and continue!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Andi says:

    Just curious what the breakdown of each crime the 27 years was for I doubt it was for cruelty to animals in and of itself although that would be a huge victory. Just a note for all those religions who believe in “kosher murder” you’re only fooling yourself that God creator of all beings would ever condone murder to any of his creations just for you to stuff your face with their corpse after they’ve had their throats slit in a kind gentle loving way. Think about it.

  • Nicole says:

    I cried for 3 days after seeing this video from Earthlings. The worst thing I have ever seen. So glad he got sentenced maybe others will realize this is punishable and not a acceptable means of butchering an animal.

  • Antonio Amorim Neto says:

    The production of kosher meat is one of the greatest atrocities that exist on Earth. That justice is done against these demons!!!

  • Bill says:

    Tears to my eyes to know that justice can be done! hopefully he is old enough that 27 years takes him to the end of his life he deserves that cell until the end!

  • Sandy says:

    I wish all slaughterhouses would be shut down. Just quit eating the DAMN meat. There are some wonderful meat substitutes out there that are just as good. No slaughterhouse is humane shut them down!!

  • Lorin says:

    I think it’s great this man got what was coming to him. Unfortunately the penalties are harsher for people who commit financial crimes than for those who abuse animals but at the very least he is being punished for SOMETHING. I wish laws were stricter against animal cruelty. People like him make me sick.

  • Ralph McCabe says:

    I think it is quite wonderful that these savages that profit from the death of animals should suffer themselves. I myself survive quite nicely on beer.

  • elly says:

    Jail yes there were he belongs. This most stop those poor cows they also have pain and stress. This is not a human. No not even a animal will do this to another animal. its discusting

  • Reciprocity says:

    I like the way people interject their prejudices here instead of addressing the issue. I’m sure that the “religious” connotation didn’t have anything to do with it so stop crying “holocaust” at every opportunity. This IS a holocaust against ANIMALS! Now it’s THEIR turn to be heard so leave your prejudices out of it! Kudos to everyone here who kept on the topic and addressed the REAL crime here. God will people ever get over themselves and think of others for a change!!???

  • Mario Garcia says:


  • karin keaton says:

    This is great news for some animals out there But there is still more of these slaughter houses still in business that need to be shut down forever…. just like this one has. Our work saving all animals is not done yet until they are all closed down and the animals can live in peace with NO HARM to them ever again. they all deserve a peaceful live on this earth like we humans would want to live. please keep saving all living creatures great and small they all need our help now and forever.

  • Theresa says:

    I watched this video and could not eat anything for three days and have since stopped eating meat altogether. Just seeing the picture of that beautiful cow’s head sticking out of the restraint starts me shaking all over again. He was not sentenced with animal cruelty but one way or another he received what he deserved. Now let’s turn our attention to horse slaughter in Canada and Mexico. Watch the disturbing video of how they suffer many slaughtered alive and tortured then read how the RCMP did not lay any charges against the owners who are still operating and killing tens of thousands of these majestic animals every year in horrific conditions.

  • Navalator says:

    Good grief! What is Raymond Babcock talking about? His comments are incoherent. Were I the judge it would be 27 years without the possibility of parole and at hard labor yet. Perhaps this former CEO will receive some of the treatment from his cell mates that he meted out to the animals or do the world a favor by dying in jail. He is a cowardly greedy bully without conscience or compassion. He more than deserves what he got.

  • Constance Siegel says:

    As a Jew this would make the animal unkosher no matter what the initial cut was! It is a strict requirment that animals are killed as quickly and painlessly a possible or they are not kosher. Judaism is very strict on the eating of animals including not boiling a “kid” in it’s “Mother’s Milk”. If this would have been brought to the attention of the local Rabbi it might have been stopped sooner! The strictest of Jews who demand kosher meat would never have tollerated this behavior! I am appaled even more than I normally would because of being a Jew!

  • Phyl says:

    Everyone every company who treats any animal inhumanely MUST be fined jailed ordered to do community service…all at their own cost!

  • VEGAMAHN says:

    Quote “There is no way to “humanely” chop somebody’s head off rip them to pieces sell their skin and eat them.” Thank you Saucy I’ll remember that next time I eat “SOMEBODY”…..

  • Stephanie says:

    This is wonderful news! Now only if all animal abusers could get prison time it would be great!

  • Lucy Francis says:

    YES PETA!!! Just reading what that unimaginable did was agony and I am not a cow going thro’ that!!! WHEN will people STOP this?! Seriously!! I am glad he has been made an example of and I hope and pray hard that karma comes round at some point for that monster and the people that carried this out!!! Well done!!!!!

  • Lil Mama says:

    Joel I agree with your comment “Raymond what on earth are you talking about?” Raymond read the article carefully!?? “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.” The 27 years are not just for cruelty to animals although in my opinion if you kill an animal inhumanely the same should be done to you and you’re lucky to JUST receive 27 years in prison. Thank you PETA for always looking out for having such brave undercover staff looking out for the wellbeing of innocent animals.

  • Linda A Levy says:

    People that slaughter animals for a living in my eyes are cruel bastards how can you do this everyday sleep at night. I have been a vegetarian for over 30 years still eat only organic cheese free range eggs simply because of the cruelty inflicted on animals during slaughter I used to love the taste of meat but would rather go without there R so many meat alternatives on the market today making it easier to become vegetarian. I am glad this dispicable man got his comeupance I hope he rots in jail!!!

  • AJ Hill says:

    For people who believe that they possess the power of life and death over animals it will always be a small step to accepting additional horrors like those uncovered in the Agriprocessor slaughter house. PETA has contributed to victory in yet another battle against human exceptionalism but it will be a long fight until the war itself is won.

  • Joel says:

    Raymond what on earth are you talking about? PETA looks out for animals not hookers! What’s your point? If it means that for 27 years animals aren’t abused by this guy then this it’s worth his sentence. Abuse of animals shouldn’t be taken any lighter than if it’s done to a person.

  • Anthony Makeler says:

    Wonderful! That the animals win a court case or at least part of one. Just one problem if the CEO had been a Muslim Sheikh rather than a religious Jew would that Sheikh be given 27 years for this? I don’t think so. I don’t think it would have even come to court. anton

  • Simon says:

    I really wonder about the joy you experience seeing a total miscarriage of justice. This is a sad day for America when a judge goes beyond the sentencing guidelines. You are talking about a man and a family. The judge did not care about animals or cruelty there was so much evil in her sentence I ask you to reconsider your glee because one day it can be thee!

  • Jill says:

    Way to go Temple. Gotta love her… I can’t believe how common it still is for people everywhere to think that a simple stamp of approval from a rabbi absolves foodproducingprocessing companies from laws accountability and blame. It is crucial to not back down in situations like this one the truth certainly came to light. And boy did this guy get the book thrown at him.

  • Lea Graziano says:

    Great news!!! but one should keep their eyes and ears open because these atrocities take place elsewhere as well. Can PETA look into the comments madeinfo given by Rev. Meg Schamm above? Can PETA look into other plants?

  • Saucy says:

    There is no way to “humanely” chop somebody’s head off rip them to pieces sell their skin and eat them. It’s BARBARIC!

  • Shari says:

    Sadly Sharla don’t be fooled ALL slaughter is horrific torture including kosher…the only way you can assure yourself you’re eating animals that were treated humanely during the slaughter process is to STOP eating them! Sorry to say but that’s the ONLY way.

  • jack says:

    He was charged for bank fraud etc. nothing about the animals and the way they were was slaughterd

  • Sharla Grossman says:

    As a kosherkeeping Jew I watched in horror at the inhumane atrocities that were captured on hidden camera by PETA when the investigation first unfolded a number of years back. I quietly boycotted the company and started exploring protein alternatives to meat to feed my growing family. This company violated EVERY SINGLE TORAH LAW REGARDING KOSHER SLAUGHTER and because they were remotely located in Postville Iowa their’s were a law unto themselves. True biblical kashrut slaughter is done in such a way that causes instantaneous death not the agony the animals in the undercover investigation videos suffered. Gd has a way of punishing His Own when they violate His Principles in His Name betray the trust of our own people. I will continue the boycott of all products from any division of this company operating under any name. I will not reward such lack of integrity with my loyalty as a consumer or as a Jew.

  • Matt Petrav says:

    Great article thank you. While the bottom line is a company being shut down so that no one can continue this awesome! Is it really necessary to “At least Sholom Rubashkin will not have the opportunity” this bothers me that we use a word such as opportunity when it comes to taking the life of an animal on any level. On that note I must agree with your article up until the last sentence. The AT LEAST is that these animals are now much safer at the end of the day.

  • Jas says:

    It’s rough when you grew up eating meat. Now that I know so many truths I’m proud that meat is no longer a part of my diet. Good job fellow veggie friends. Let’s keep it up.

  • shannon says:

    Although the egregious and blatant violations of the Humane Slaughter Act played a large part in the conviction let’s not forget that AgriProcessors was knowingly hiring illegal immigrants many of whom were under 18. This is a company that violated so many animalcruelty laws labor laws and immigration laws that it should come as no surprise that it ultimately got what was coming to it. This is a significant justice to the animals and to the people who were exploited so that profit margins could be expanded.

  • alexia says:

    well done PETA WELL DONE.

  • Mirna Adriano says:

    Thank God justicie comes sooner or later. I really hope to have this kind of accion against cruelty and violence to animals here in Mexico. Please do not stop supporting this bill and put pressure on our authorities with it. Thank you very much.

  • Becca says:

    So i have seen a lot of video’s on Peta Which is why i am Vegetarian and can hardly sleep at night knowing this was going on and people were doing this. I can hardly imagine being the one actually doing these kinds of things to these animals. It brings peace of mind now knowing that there will be one less cruel person out there doing these sort of things.

  • Murtaza says:

    I think the company should be closed down completely that will teach other companies to be following the law.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    And is the CEO of SHF industries who now owns the company under the name AgriStar a compassionate person? Is Waverly Livestock Supply who contributed to this atrocity and received part of the settlement still operating? Is AgriStar complying with the kosher slaughter law? Do not wave the flag of victory yet.

  • Carla* says:

    WAY TO GO once again Peta!!! I remember watching in complete horror the videos but I made myself watch I had too. Twentyseven years is a long time he’ll probably die in prison maybe from eating a bad piece of meat!! Karma’s a bch!! Sorry for the animals that died at the hands of this monster but at least and I use that term loosly it wasn”t all in vein. RIP

  • Aneliese says:

    I’m so happy about this! Justice not something that happens often with animal abuse.