Cow Repeatedly Shot in the Head; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
October 21, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Riverton, Wyo.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Genuine Meats LLC in Riverton. In response, the group sent a letter this morning to Riverton City Attorney Rick Sollars calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker who repeatedly shot a conscious cow in the head. The animal cried out after the worker shot her with a shotgun and then with a pistol, and after another shot with the pistol, she was still standing and looking around. The worker tried to shoot her a fourth time, but the pistol jammed. After fiddling with the weapon for some time, he eventually switched back to the shotgun and finally rendered the suffering cow unconscious on his fifth attempt.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Genuine Meats,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on her 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 Sollars follows.

October 21, 2021

The Honorable Rick Sollars

Riverton City Attorney

Dear Mr. Sollars,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office (and the proper law enforcement agency, as you deem appropriate) investigate and file suitable criminal charges against Genuine Meats LLC and the worker responsible for repeatedly shooting a cow in the head, leaving the wounded animal standing and crying out, on October 12 at its slaughterhouse located at 4454 Airport Rd. in Riverton. 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 stun operator applied a round from a 12-gauge shot gun to the head of a heifer. The heifer vocalized immediately after and the stun operator called me to the stun box to observe the location of the stun placement with the animal still standing. The stun operator did not immediately produce a follow up stun attempt and I had to instruct him to immediately render the animal unconscious. The stun operator switched to a 40-caliber pistol and applied a second stun attempt to the animal. The animal vocalized again, and the operator applied a third stun attempt to the animal. After hearing no vocalization following the third stun attempt, I looked into the stun box and found the animal was still standing, moving its head back and forth, blinking its eyes and looking at myself and the stun operator, showing that the animal was still conscious. The stun operator attempted a fourth stun attempt with the 40-caliber pistol, but the pistol jammed. The animal continued to remain conscious but was not vocalizing while the stun operator attempted to unjam the pistol. After about 20 seconds the stun operator switched back to the 12-gauge shot gun and applied a fifth stun to the animal.1

This conduct appears to violate Riverton Municipal Code § 6.04.050. Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state or local 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 15 Manager Robert Reeder, Notice of Suspension, Genuine Meats LLC (October 12, 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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