Cow Shot in the Head 6 Times; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
January 7, 2021

David Perle 202-483-7382

Isabella County, Mich.

PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at The Cut Custom Processing, a slaughterhouse outside Rosebush. In response, the group sent a letter today to Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney David Barberi calling on him to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the worker(s) who shot a cow in the head four times, causing her to thrash her head and cry out, before leaving the kill floor to retrieve additional cartridges and then shooting her in the head two more times, finally rendering her unconscious.

“This disturbing report shows that this cow experienced a prolonged, agonizing death at The Cut Custom Processing,” 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.

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

PETA’s letter to Barberi follows.

January 7, 2021

The Honorable David Barberi

Isabella County Prosecuting Attorney

Dear Mr. Barberi:

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 Cut Custom Processing LLC and the worker(s) responsible for shooting a cow in the head six times, causing her to thrash her head and cry out, on December 2, 2020, at its slaughterhouse located at 3653 E. Weidman Rd. outside of Rosebush. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached report, which states the following:

“[T]he FSIS Consumer Safety Inspector (CSI) observed the stunning operator attempt to stun a beef cow [who] was restrained in the knock box using a captive bolt gun. The initial stunning attempt was ineffective, and the cow vocalized and continued to breathe rhythmically and blink normally. A second stunning attempt was made with the backup captive bolt gun, and the cow thrashed [her] head, vocalized, and continued to breathe rhythmically and blink normally. The third and fourth stunning attempts with the captive bolt guns resulted in the cow continuing to vocalize and blink normally. After the fourth ineffective stun, an establishment employee left the kill floor and returned with captive bolt cartridges designated for use on heavy bulls. Both captive bolt guns were reloaded and fired in quick succession. The animal was rendered insensible at this point.”1

This conduct appears to violate M.C.L.A. § 750.50b. 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 Investigation

[1]FSIS District 50 Manager Dr. Donald Fickey, Notice of Suspension, The Cut Custom Processing LLC (Dec. 3, 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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