Conscious Pig’s Throat Cut; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
August 19, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Dover, Del.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Haass’ Family Butcher Shop, Inc., outside Dover. In response, the group sent a letter today to Delaware State Prosecutor A.J. Roop calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker responsible for shooting a pig in the head twice with a gun that he had been told by a coworker wouldn’t be effective on her. When the pig remained standing and alert, the worker cut her throat. She remained conscious until another worker shot her with a shotgun.

“This disturbing report shows that this pig experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Haass’ Family Butcher Shop,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on her behalf and urging all compassionate members of the public 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 pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, and other animals feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do.

For more information, visit or follow the group on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

PETA’s letter to Roop follows.

August 19, 2021

A.J. Roop

Delaware State Prosecutor

Dear Mr. Roop,

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 Haass’ Family Butcher Shop, Inc., and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a conscious pig in the head and cutting the animal’s throat on August 4 at its slaughterhouse located at 3997 Hazlettville Rd. outside Dover. 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 employee who had been performing stunning for the day suggested that he could attempt to stun the sow using the hand-held captive bolt stunning device (HHCB) that is used for stunning cattle, but a second employee stated that the HHCB didn’t work on sows of this size. IPP [FSIS Inspection Program Personnel] observed as the first employee retrieved two (2) 0.25 caliber HHCB devices and attempted to stun the sow. The sow remained conscious, as was evident as it remained upright and alert. The first employee then approached the sow with a knife and was going to attempt to cut the neck of the sow (for bleeding purposes), but IPP told him to re-stun the sow. The employee then reloaded the HHCB and attempted a second stun. The second stun attempt was unsuccessful, as the sow [remained] upright and alert. As the employees had no additional equipment available to attempt to stun the sow, IPP stepped away to confer. At that time, the first employee attempted to cut the sow’s neck; however, the sow was in an awkward position and even though he was able to reach the neck, the employee was unable to make a full cut to the neck (i.e., the sow did not bleed out) and the sow remained conscious. Employees then retrieved a 20-gauge shotgun from another part of the establishment and attempted to stun the sow. The first shot with the 20-gauge shotgun (3rd stun attempt overall) successfully rendered the sow unconscious …”1

This conduct appears to violate 11 Del. C. § 1325(b). 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 80 Manager Todd Furey, Notice of Suspension, Haass’ Family Butcher Shop, Inc.  (August 4, 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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