Cow Repeatedly Shot in the Head; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
November 1, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Greenback, Tenn.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at The Butcher Shop at Hyde Farms in Greenback. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on 9th Judicial District Attorney General Russell Johnson to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and staff responsible for shooting a restrained cow with a rifle six times—which failed to stun the animal, who remained standing. The owner of the facility finally rendered the suffering cow unconscious by shooting him in the head with a handgun.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Hyde Farms,” 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 Johnson follows.

November 1, 2021

The Honorable Russell Johnson

9th Judicial District Attorney General

Dear Mr. Johnson,

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 The Butcher Shop at Hyde Farms and the worker(s) responsible for shooting a conscious cow in the head six times in a botched stunning attempt on October 12 at its slaughterhouse located at 7431 Hwy. 411 in Loudon County. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

A bovine entered the knock box and was restrained in a head catch. The [redacted] used a rifle to stun the animal and was approximately 5 feet from the animal. [Redacted] fired the rifle on the first attempt to stun the animal, but it was ineffective as evidenced by the animal remain[ing] standing. The stun operator made five additional stun attempts, which each were ineffective as evidenced by the animal remain[ing] standing. At this time, the owner of the establishment … retrieved a handgun. The handgun was put onto the head of the cow and fired. The animal was rendered insensible by this attempt and remained so thereafter.1

This conduct may violate Tenn. Code Ann. § 39-14-202(a)(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 90 Manager Larry Davis, Notice of Suspension, The Butcher Shop at Hyde Farms (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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