Conscious Cow Repeatedly Shot, Stabbed; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
December 9, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Long Prairie, Minn.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Long Prairie Packing Company, LLC, in which staff shot a conscious cow in the head three times, slit her throat, and cut her flesh open six times and injected a chemical into the cuts. A captive-bolt gun malfunctioned on multiple attempts to shoot her again, and the cow lifted her head and clenched her teeth in pain until a rifle was used to end her suffering. In response, PETA sent a letter this morning calling on Long Prairie City Attorney Joseph Krueger to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the responsible parties.

“This disturbing report shows that this animal experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Long Prairie Packing Company,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on this cow’s behalf and urging everyone to help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses by going vegan.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. The group notes that cows, sheep, pigs, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do.

For more information on PETA’s investigative newsgathering and reporting, visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Krueger follows.

December 9, 2021

Joseph Krueger

Long Prairie City Attorney

Dear Mr. Krueger,

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 Long Prairie Packing Company, LLC, and the worker(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting an immobile cow in the head, cutting her throat, and slashing her six more times and injecting a noxious chemical into the resulting wounds while she gritted her teeth on November 18 at its slaughterhouse located at 10 Riverside Dr. in Long Prairie. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

The establishment employee notified [in plant personnel] that they will be euthanizing a down cow on the livestock trailer . . . . IPP heard multiple firearm discharges but was not in a line of site to determine the origin of the firearm discharge. After noticing the establishment employee went to denature the animal on the livestock trailer … IPP got onto the trailer [and] observed a sternal recumbent dairy cow … with the establishment employee leaning over the cow. IPP observed the employee slash and inject denaturant in the middle of the left shoulder area of the cow, this being the last of six cuts through which denaturant was injected. The establishment employee had already made a cut to exsanguinate the animal prior to performing the denaturing process, the cut was actively bleeding. Remaining in sternal recumbency, the animal was holding [her] head up on [her] left side off the ground. IPP watched as the cow moved her head straight forward in a controlled manner holding it up off the ground, still in sternal recumbency, right after the last denaturing cut and injection was performed. At that point IPP also noticed the cow was rhythmically breathing. … When IPP approached the left side of the cow, she moved her head … back to her left side showing signs of distress with clenched teeth and eyes drawn tight at the inner corners. The cow blinked in a controlled manner twice, with labored breathing of increasing intensity, with blood running down her forehead, further confirming the animal was conscious. A different establishment employee brought a handheld captive bolt to attempt to stun the animal a fourth time. The handheld captive bolt device did not discharge at all with three attempts. After the first attempt with the handheld captive bolt device the cow moved her head out away from her body, holding it up of her own accord. The establishment employee then touched the inner corner of the cow’s left eye and the cow blinked in response. The establishment employee then retrieved a firearm from the barn office and returned, administering an effective stun rendering the animal unconscious. At IPP insistence the establishment employee verified the animal was insensible …1

This conduct appears to violate Minn. Stat. Ann. § 343.21(1). Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals.2

Please let us know what we might do to assist you. Thank you for your consideration and for the difficult work that you do.


Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigations

1FSIS District 25 Manager Dr. Dawn Sprouls, Notice of Suspension, Long Prairie Packing Company LLC (November 18, 2021) Last accessed December 8, 2021.

2See 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.”).

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