Cow Repeatedly Shot in the Head; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
November 11, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Kersey, Colo.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Steving Meats Company in Kersey. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Weld County District Attorney Michael J. Rourke to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker(s) who shot a cow three times in the head on October 16. The cow remained standing and moving his or her head after the first two shots and was left conscious and suffering while a worker went to retrieve a higher caliber rifle to shoot the animal a third time.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at Steving Meats Company,” 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 and help prevent more animals from suffering in slaughterhouses.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—opposes speciesism, which is 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, and that the only way to help prevent them from suffering in slaughterhouses is not to eat them.

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PETA’s letter to Rourke follows.

November 11, 2020

The Honorable Michael J. Rourke

District Attorney for Weld County

Dear Mr. Rourke,

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 Steving Meats Company and the worker(s) responsible for misplacing two rifle shots to a cow’s head, leaving the severely wounded animal conscious while another rifle was sought, on October 16 at its slaughterhouse located at 443 4th St. in Kersey. 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] cow was [shot] with the .22 magnum rifle but it remained standing and moving its head away after the first stun attempt. A second stun attempt was applied with the same rifle. The cow remained standing and moving its head after the second stun attempt. … The stun operator left the area to retrieve a larger caliber rifle. After returning with a 30/30 rifle, the establishment employee applied a third stun attempt to the cow … I observed the dressed head and verified that there were three penetrating stun holes. Two of the holes were outside of the acceptable target area for stunning placement.”1

This conduct appears to violate C.R.S.A. § 18-9-202. 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 15 Manager Valerie Clay, Notice of Suspension, Steving Meat Company, Est. M6161 (Oct. 16, 2020)

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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