Conscious Cow Repeatedly Shot and Dragged at FPL Food; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
January 31, 2023

Nicole Meyer 202-483-7382

Augusta, Ga.

In response to a just-published report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture documenting that a cow, who remained conscious at FPL Food in Augusta after multiple shots to the head, was slashed across the throat and dragged away, PETA fired off a letter today to District Attorney Jared Williams calling on him to investigate and file applicable criminal charges against those responsible.

On August 24, a worker shot a cow twice in the head and cut her throat before she was shackled and dragged about 15 feet with a forklift. She continued to move, breathe, and blink. Workers did nothing to end her suffering until a federal inspector pointed out that she was still conscious.

“This cow endured prolonged, agonizing pain after she was shot twice, cut across the neck, and hauled around before finally being rendered unconscious,” says PETA Vice President Daniel Paden. “PETA is calling for an investigation on this animal’s behalf and urges everyone to help prevent animals from suffering in slaughterhouses by going vegan.”

Federal documents obtained by PETA reveal that FPL was flagged in prior years for the mistreatment of cows—including one who remained conscious and cried out after a worker shot her in the head and another who got loose, fell 6 feet onto a table, and ran through the slaughterhouse to the parking lot, where she was shot.

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, please visit, listen to The PETA Podcast, or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Williams follows.

January 31, 2023

The Honorable Jared Williams

District Attorney

Augusta Judicial Circuit

Dear Mr. Williams:

I hope this letter finds you well. I’m writing to request that your office (and a law-enforcement agency, as necessary) investigate and file applicable criminal charges against the individuals responsible for repeatedly shooting a cow in the head, slashing her throat, and dragging her 15 feet behind a forklift—while she was conscious—at FPL Food, located at 1301 New Savannah Rd. in Augusta. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in a report that it recently made available to the public.

On August 24, 2022, an FSIS inspector saw an FPL worker shoot a recumbent cow—who was trapped in a trailer—in the head twice with a captive-bolt gun and then stick a knife into her throat in an attempt to bleed her to death. The FSIS inspector “was standing right next to the cow … and could see she maintained rhythmic breathing, and her breathing quickened when they used the knife on her.”

Even though the cow was conscious, workers shackled and dragged her about 15 feet with a forklift. The FSIS inspector then saw her sit up, blink her eyes, move her head, and look around. “The plant employees did nothing to render the cow unconscious,” the inspector wrote, “until I said to them the cow was conscious.” Finally, a third shot to the head stunned the cow.

This conduct may violate O.C.G.A. § 16-12-4 and does not represent the agricultural or butchering practices otherwise exempt from prosecution. Please note that FSIS’ action carries no criminal or civil penalties and does not preempt criminal liability under state law for acts of cruelty to animals.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Daniel Paden

Vice President of Evidence Analysis

Cruelty Investigations Department

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