Criminal Probe of Slaughterhouse Sought After Bulls Shot Up to Four Times in the Head

For Immediate Release:
April 23, 2019

Audrey Shircliff 202-483-7382

Oakland, Md. – PETA has obtained U.S. Department of Agriculture reports revealing recent violations of law at Working H Meats near Friendsville. On March 28, 2019, a worker shot a bull in the head four times with two rifles before the animal was finally rendered unconscious. On March 8, 2018, a worker botched the shooting of a bull and another worker went home to retrieve a higher-caliber rifle that was used to shoot the animal two more times. In response, PETA sent a letter today calling on the state’s attorney for Garrett County to review the matter and, as appropriate, file criminal cruelty-to-animals charges against the facility and the workers responsible for causing these animals to suffer.

“These disturbing reports show that these bulls experienced prolonged, agonizing deaths at Working H Meats,” 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 compassionate members of the public.”

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 other animals have a central nervous system and sense of self-preservation, just as humans do, and that the only way to prevent cows, pigs, chickens, and others from suffering in slaughterhouses is to go vegan.

For more information, please visit

PETA’s letter to State’s Attorney for Garrett County Lisa Thayer-Welch follows.

April 23, 2019

The Honorable Lisa Thayer-Welch

State’s Attorney for Garrett County

Dear Ms. Thayer-Welch,

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 Working H Meats, LLC, and the worker(s) responsible for shooting bulls in the head up to four times on two occasions at its slaughterhouse located at 5481 Friendsville Rd. outside of Friendsville. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) documented the incidents in the attached reports, which state the following:

March 28, 2019: “An establishment employee attempted to stun the bull using a .22 Magnum rifle. The bull remained standing in the knock box, and the employee attempted to stun the bull again using the same .22 Magnum rifle. However, the second stun attempt also failed to render the bull unconscious. The employee then retrieved the backup .308 rifle and attempted to stun the bull (1st attempt with .308 rifle and 3rd overall attempt). Again, the bull remained standing and was showing signs of agitation. The employee fired a 2nd shot with the .308 rifle (4th shot overall) and this attempt rendered the bull unconscious. … [A]ll four bullets … penetrated the skull ….”

March 8, 2018: “[A]n Angus bull … was loaded into the knock box. An establishment employee attempted to stun the bull using a .22 Magnum rifle. The bull remained calm and standing in the knock box. The establishment did not have a larger caliber rifle available. A second plant employee, who lives nearby, went to her home and returned with a .223 rifle. The first employee attempted to stun the bull using the .223 rifle, and … the shot produced immediate unconsciousness ….”

This conduct appears to violate MD Code, Criminal Law, § 10-604. 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.


Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“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

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind