For Immediate Release:
February 9, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Allegany County, Md. – PETA has obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing recent violations of law at Greise Brothers Packing, Inc., outside Cumberland. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Allegany County Deputy State’s Attorney Frederick Voss to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible.
In January, a worker shot a bull in the head five times with a shotgun, and the animal was still standing after at least the first two shots. In another incident, workers electroshocked a pig and cut the animal’s throat. The pig regained consciousness, looked around, and tried to stand—but instead of re-stunning the pig, workers left the animal to bleed to death.
“These disturbing reports show that a bull and a pig experienced prolonged, agonizing deaths at Greise Brothers Packing,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the animals who suffered at this facility and urging all compassionate members of the public who are disturbed by this cruelty to go vegan and help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses.”
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, cows, chickens, sheep, 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.
PETA’s letter to Voss follows.
February 9, 2021
Allegany County Deputy State’s Attorney
Dear Mr. Voss:
I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office (and the proper local law enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file suitable criminal charges against Greise Brothers Packing, Inc., and the worker(s) responsible for shooting a bull in the head five times and cutting a pig’s throat, leaving the conscious animal to bleed to death, in two incidents at its slaughterhouse located at 11901 Greise Farm Rd. outside Cumberland. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which state the following:
January 4, 2021: “IPP [FSIS Inspection Program Personnel] identified an egregious humane handling non-compliance in which an employee required five (5) shots with a .410 firearm to render a bull unconscious. IPP observed a bull being placed in the knock box, and an employee prepared to use the .410 firearm to apply the initial stun attempt. … After the first shot, IPP stepped back onto the kill floor, but the employee indicated that he was taking a security shot using the same firearm …. Following the second shot, IPP entered the kill floor and observed the bull still standing in the knock box and moving [his] head. … After the third shot, the bull remained conscious. The employee attempted a fourth stun, and again the bull remained conscious. The employee attempted a fifth stun, which successfully rendered the bull unconscious.”1
April 3, 2020: “IPP identified an egregious humane handling non-compliance in which an animal returned to consciousness after being stunned and stuck for bleeding. The Inspector in Charge (IIC) observed an establishment employee attempt to stun a large hog in the knock box using an electrical stunning device (ESD). After the initial stun attempt, the hog dropped to the ground and the gate was released, allowing the hog to drop out of the chute. Another employee stepped in to stick the hog for bleeding. When the IIC went to observe the hog bleeding out, she observed signs of consciousness in the hog; blinking eyes with tracking eye movement, conscious movement of the head, and attempts to stand. These signs indicate that the hog regained consciousness after having been stunned and stuck for bleeding. The establishment employees did not attempt to restun the hog but allowed [the pig] to bleed out until [the pig] was deceased.”2
This conduct appears to violate Md. Code, Crim. Law § 10-604. Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.3
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
1FSIS District 80 Manager Todd Furey, Notice of Suspension, Greise Brothers Packing, Inc. (Jan. 4, 2021) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/d82bac1c-5349-4223-848c-06afa1d9d7dd/m4271-nos-01042021.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
2FSIS District 80 Manager Todd Furey, Notice of Suspension, Greise Brothers Packing, Inc. (Apr. 3, 2020) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/128375cd-fac0-418d-9223-17cecc77ae73/m4271-nos-04032020.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.
3See Nat’l. Meat Assoc. v. Harris, 132 S. Ct. 965, 974 n.10 (2012) (“. . . States may exact civil or criminal penalties for animal cruelty or other conduct that also violates the [Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA)]. See [21 U.S.C.] §678; cf. Bates v. Dow Agrosciences, LLC, 544 U.S. 431, 447 (2005) (holding that a preemption clause barring state laws ‘in addition to or different’ from a federal Act does not interfere with an ‘equivalent’ state provision). Although the FMIA preempts much state law involving slaughterhouses, it thus leaves some room for the States to regulate.”).