Cow Cries Out After Being Shot, Slashed; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
May 17, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Roanoke, Ala.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Roanoke Packing Co. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Fifth Judicial Circuit District Attorney D. Jeremy Duerr to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the staff responsible for shooting a cow three times and cutting her throat before the animal stood back up and cried out. No additional attempts were made to stun her, and she “subsequently” died.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Roanoke Packing Co.,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the cow who suffered at this facility and urging all compassionate members of the public who are disturbed by this cruelty to go 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 feel pain and fear and value their lives, just as humans do, and that the best way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is not to eat them.

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

PETA’s letter to Duerr follows.

May 17, 2021

The Honorable D. Jeremy Duerr

Fifth Judicial Circuit District Attorney

Dear Mr. Duerr,

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 Roanoke Packing Company and the staff responsible for repeatedly shooting a cow in the head and cutting her throat—after which she stood up and cried out—on May 6 at its slaughterhouse located at 1004 Chestnut St. in Roanoke. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“FSIS inspection personnel observed plant personnel administer three shots to a beef cow with a firearm. The animal went down after the third shot. [An] employee stuck the animal to bleed, and the animal then stood up and bellowed (vocalized). No additional stun attempts were observed and the animal subsequently expired.”1

This conduct appears to violate Ala. Code § 13A-11-14. FSIS’ action shows that this conduct was not permitted under the agricultural laws of the United States, and thus is subject to investigation under state law as cruelty to animals. 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 90 Manager Dr. Larry Davis, Notice of Suspension, Roanoke Packing Company, Est. M45670 (May 6, 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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