Criminal Probe of Bob Evans Farms Subsidiary Sought After Pigs Shot Repeatedly in the Head

For Immediate Release:
October 17, 2018

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Hillsdale, Mich. – PETA has obtained two U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports revealing recent violations of law at BEF Foods, Inc. in Hillsdale. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the Hillsdale Chief of Police to investigate the slaughterhouse and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for shooting two conscious sows multiple times in the head, causing at least one of them to cry out and bleed from the nose, once on July 10 of this year and again on September 28.

“These disturbing revelations show that these pigs suffered prolonged, agonizing deaths at BEF Foods,” says PETA Senior Vice President Daphna Nachminovitch. “PETA is calling for a criminal investigation on behalf of the animals who suffered at this facility and the members of the public who care about them.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat”—notes that other animals have a central nervous system and sense of self-preservation, just as humans do, and that the only way to prevent pigs, cows, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

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PETA’s letter to Chief of Police Scott Hephner follows.

October 17, 2018

Chief Scott Hephner

City of Hillsdale Police Department

Dear Chief Hephner,

I hope this letter finds you well. I would like to request that your office investigate and file suitable criminal charges against BEF Foods, Inc., and the worker(s) responsible for repeatedly shooting pigs in the head—causing at least one of them to cry out and bleed from the nose—on July 10 and September 28 at its slaughterhouse located at 200 N. Wolcott St. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incident in the attached reports, which state the following:

July 10: “BEF employees observed a slow sow lying down in sternal recumbancy and [who] would not rise. … The captive bolt device was placed and discharged into the forehead. The sow remained conscious, vocalized, immediately rose to a standing position, and began to back up. … The captive bolt operator reloaded the device, observed the standing sow, verified the initial shot placement with his index finger, and further observed the standing sow. The employee then … discharged the device into the forehead. The sow vocalized upon impact, remained standing, and the nose was observed to start bleeding. The captive bolt operator again observed the shot placement for the ineffective attempts, reloaded the device and placed the third shot.”

September 28: “[E]mployees attempted to stun a non-ambulatory sow using a handheld captive bolt device. The sow was in a sitting position when the employee placed the captive bolt device onto the forehead and discharged the device. The sow remained in a sitting position and began shaking its head in response. The employee was handed a second pre-loaded backup captive bolt device, tracked the head as it was moving, placed the device onto the forehead, and discharged the device into the forehead. The sow remained in a sitting position and continued shaking its head. Two holes were visible in the head of the conscious sow after the second attempt. The primary captive bolt device had been reloaded and was handed to the employee. The employee tracked the head with the device, placed the device onto the forehead, and discharged the device for the third stunning attempt. The sow was rendered unconscious at this time.”

This conduct appears to violate Mich. Comp. Laws § 750.50b(2)(b). Importantly, FSIS action does not preempt criminal liability under state law for slaughterhouse workers who perpetrate acts of cruelty to animals

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

Investigations Specialist

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

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