Cows Beaten, One Trampled; PETA Seeks Criminal Probe

For Immediate Release:
November 23, 2020

Contact:
David Perle 202-483-7382

Pico Rivera, Calif. – PETA has obtained a U.S. Department of Agriculture report revealing a recent violation of law at Charlie DiMaria & Sons in Pico Rivera. In response, the group sent a letter this morning calling on Los Angeles County District Attorney Jackie Lacey to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the individuals who beat multiple cows. One worker repeatedly struck a cow in the face as she was lying on the floor, forcing other cows to trample the downed animal while they were being unloaded from a truck on November 2. The slaughterhouse worker and trucker involved both ignored the federal officer’s repeated instructions to stop unloading the truck.

“Facing the slaughterhouse knife is terrifying enough, without being beaten or trampled by other frightened cows first,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of these cows and urging anyone who’s 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 PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to Lacey follows.

November 23, 2020

The Honorable Jackie Lacey

Los Angeles County District Attorney

Dear Ms. Lacey:

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 Charlie DiMaria & Sons and those responsible for beating multiple cows in the face, including a downed animal workers forced others to trample, on November 2 at its slaughterhouse located at 9531 Beverly Rd. in Pico Rivera. 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 Supervisory Public Health Veterinarian (SPHV) observed [the] establishment’s … causing pain and suffering of an animal. Specifically, the SPHV noticed that as a trucker was opening the back of a trailer to unload cattle, there was a down and lateral cow lying on the floor of the trailer at the entrance of the trailer door. There were two ambulatory cows … straddling the abdomen of this down cow. The SPHV, when she witnessed this, immediately notified [redacted] of the down cow lying on the floor at the entrance of the trailer and informed him that the unloading had to stop until the establishment addressed this non-ambulatory cow. [Redacted] attempted to make the cow move by hitting her on the face and head with a paddle, which resulted in the cow lifting her head. The trucker also hit this cow in the face and head with a paddle, but the cow did not stand up.

Despite the SPHV’s repeated instructions to halt the unloading and to address the down cow, [the] establishment continued to conduct unloading of the cows while the down cow was lying at the entrance. Although the trucker was aware of this cow’s condition and that she was lying on the floor at the entrance of the trailer, he continued to unload the cows by hitting several cows on the back, which resulted in the remaining cows stepping on and over this down cow while moving to exit the trailer. The moving cows were kicking the down cow in the face and body as they exited the trailer. The trucker also used his paddle to hit ambulatory cows inside the trailer, on the head and the face in an attempt to unload the truck. The cows moved in the direction of the down cow to exit the trailer.

After at least three to four ambulatory cows exited the trailer, the down cow eventually was able to stand up and walk away.”1

This conduct appears to violate Cal. Penal Code § 597(b). 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.

Sincerely,

Colin Henstock

Assistant Manager of Investigations

1FSIS District 05 Manager Yudhbir Sharma, DVM, Notice of Suspension, Charlie DiMaria & Sons, Est. 934 M (Nov. 2, 2020) https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/5704ca77-3a6c-43b5-a287-4177299d014c/934m-nos-11022020.pdf?MOD=AJPERES.

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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