For Immediate Release:
October 7, 2020
David Perle 202-483-7382
Fort Valley, Ga. – PETA has just obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing another violation of federal law at Fort Valley State University’s Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center: On September 22, a worker there ineffectively shot a boar in the head twice, left the animal in order to obtain a different captive-bolt gun, and then shot him two more times while he remained conscious and in pain. A fifth shot finally rendered the boar unconscious. This follows an incident in June 2019 in which a bull remained conscious through nine shots to the head, before a finally successful 10th shot stunned him.
In light of these botched slaughters, PETA sent a letter calling on the U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia Charles Peeler to review these violations of the Humane Methods of Livestock Slaughter Act and, as appropriate, file criminal charges.
“Sensitive animals suffer every day in today’s meat industry, and this slaughterhouse can’t even ensure a quick death,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is asking anyone disturbed by these incidents to keep animals off their plates, which is the only way to stop this cruelty.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that pigs, cattle, sheep, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do, and that the only way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is not to eat them.
For more information, visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Peeler follows.
October 7, 2020
The Honorable Charles Peeler
United States Attorney
Middle District of Georgia
Dear Mr. Peeler,
I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file appropriate criminal charges against the Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center and those responsible for repeated violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, which requires that animals be “rendered insensible to pain by a single blow … or other means that is rapid and effective, before being shackled, hoisted … or cut.”1 At the slaughterhouse, located near the Fort Valley State University campus in Peach County, individuals shot animals in the head five to 10 times before stunning them, as documented in the attached reports by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).
According to the reports, federal officials documented the following:
- September 22, 2020: “Inspection Program Personnel (IPP) … observed that it took five (5) attempts with a hand held captive bolt (HHCB) to effectively render a boar unconscious. A security knock was then applied before the animal was shackled, hoisted and bled. Between the second and third stunning attempts, the stunner left the stunning area to retrieve a back-up captive bolt device. … On postmortem examination of the head, six (6) distinct points of entry on the skull were identified.”2
- June 26, 2019: “[T]he Inspector In Charge (IIC) … observed that it took ten (10) attempts with a hand held captive bolt … to effectively render a bull unconscious before [he] was shackled, hoisted and bled. … On postmortem examination of the head, ten (10) distinct points of contact on the skull were identified.”3
The Federal Meat Inspection Act classifies such offenses as misdemeanors and provides penalties of imprisonment of up to one year and/or a fine of up to $1,000.4 The fact that inhumane handling persists at the establishment makes it clear that FSIS enforcement actions alone are insufficient to deter future violations and that criminal prosecution is in the best interests of the animals killed there and the public. Given that the FSIS “fully supports the investigation of all those involved in alleged violations of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act” and that “[i]nvestigators from [its] enforcement division and from USDA’s Inspector General … stand ready to work”5 with offices such as yours, we respectfully ask that you investigate and bring appropriate criminal charges against those responsible for the above violations.
Please let us know what we might do to assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.
Assistant Manager of Investigations
17 U.S.C. § 1902.
2FSIS District 85 Manager Dr. Phyllis Adams, Notice of Suspension, Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center, Est. M21741 (Sept. 22, 2020) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/38083ea3-2af8-42ae-a87a-c1b9782b15b6/m21741-nos-09222020.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
3FSIS District 85 Manager Dr. Phyllis Adams, Notice of Suspension, Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center, Est. M21741 (June 26, 2019) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/256a9268-7b88-44c0-a945-5ef9b321fe7b/m21741-nos-062619.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
421 U.S.C. § 676.
5U.S. Department of Agriculture, FSIS, “Under Secretary for Food Safety Shares Some Insight on the Humane Handling of Livestock,” (Jan. 7, 2011) https://www.usda.gov/media/blog/2011/01/7/under-secretary-food-safety-shares-some-insight-humane-handling-livestock (Last accessed on Oct. 5, 2020).